The prosecution in the Enrica Lexie firing case charged the defence in the District and Sessions Court with trying to delay the proceedings for framing of charges and trial, even as the High Court and the Supreme Court had directed to expedite the trial as early as possible. Countering a slew of prayers made by the defence counsel before the District and Sessions Court on Tuesday, the special public prosecutor said that the defence had been repeatedly raising prayers with the intention of delaying the trial.
Defence counsel represented by C S Nair prayed to the court for translated copies of documents in Italian, English and Malayalam to remove any prejudice in the minds of the accused Italian Marines who ‘do not understand a single word in English’.
The defence sought an English translation of five documents in Italian- the Italian passport, maritime report, ID cards, copy of list of arms and ammunition in the vessel and a couple of journals seized from the vessel. They also sought the Italian translation of numerous documents in English and Malayalam. The prosecution argued that the translated copies cannot be given by the court or the prosecution and the defence can employ any competent person to translate it for their own purpose. The prosecution also pointed out that the most competent person, who can translate the Italian documents in the case is the Italian Consul General, who has offered his surety before the court in the case.
“If a translated version of the documents is handed over to the defence, they may find out anomalies in it leading to further arguments that can cause delay in the trial,” the prosecution said. The defence raised objections against the prosecution’s stand that the copies of X-ray of the deceased, material objects sought by the defence, cannot be handed over as it is non-copyable. The post-mortem of the bodies of the deceased fishermen was conducted at Medical College Hospital, Thiruvananthapuram, where the digitalisation facility of X-ray was available and the digital format can be copied. The defence prayed to exclude the material from the list of material evidence if the prosecution cannot hand over a copy to them. The prosecution said that they were not aware whether digitisation facility was available at the Medical College and only a normal X-ray was taken.
The defence also raised arguments against the CJM court’s move of hurriedly committing the case to the trial court on the first sitting after the probe team submitted the chargesheet. The defence challenged the maintainability of the Suppression of Unlawful Act against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (SUA Act) Section 3 charged against the Marines, citing the order of the CJM court while considering the bail petition of the Marines, which referred to the competence of investigation officers to probe charges under the Act. The court will dispose of the prayers of the defence, when the case is considered on July 17.