The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the trial proceedings against two Italian marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, till July 30.
Justice C T Ravikumar issued the interim order while considering a petition filed by two marines - chief sergeant Massimiliano Latorre and sergeant Salvatore Girone - challenging the Kollam District Sessions Court order. The Sessions Court had dismissed the plea of the counsel representing the Italian marines, who sought translated copies of the documents related to the case.
The court also issued a notice to the state government and observed that the issue has to be considered more deeply. The court had ruled that under Section 279 (pertaining to interpretation of evidence to accused or his pleader) of CrPC, there are no provisions to provide translated copies of the documentary evidence.
The defence had appointed lawyers who are proficient in both Malayalam and English. Moreover, the court has appointed three translators who are proficient in English, Italian and Malayalam to ensure a fair trial, the Sessions Court said earlier.
The marines submitted that the Sessions Court dealt with the matter in a highly superficial and technical manner. The chargesheet and the connected documents were not of the character which would enable the Italian marines, who are not conversant with English or Malayalam, to read and understand the contents.
The court also declined time for scrutiny of the documents, the petition said. According to the petitioners, denying translated copies of documents and statements was illegal and this has affected their right to a fair trial.
The Sessions Court had posted the case for preliminary hearing on July 25, ahead of the trial.