Teen goes on trial for Delhi gang rape, murder

NEW DELHI Wed Mar 6, 2013 5:32pm IST

A demonstrator stands on a pavement near paintings by other demonstrators, as she listens to a speaker during a protest near parliament in New Delhi February 21, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

A demonstrator stands on a pavement near paintings by other demonstrators, as she listens to a speaker during a protest near parliament in New Delhi February 21, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Adnan Abidi

Related Topics

Rajalakshmi (C), 28, smiles after winning the Miss Wheelchair India beauty pageant in Mumbai November 26, 2014. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

Miss Wheelchair India

Seven women from across India participated in the country's second wheelchair beauty pageant, which aims to open doors for the wheelchair-bound in modelling, film and television, according to organisers  Slideshow 

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A teenager went on trial on Wednesday charged with taking part in the gang rape and murder of a young physiotherapist, a case which has sparked soul-searching about whether the country is too soft on young offenders.

Police say the juvenile and five men lured the 23-year-old woman and her male friend on to a New Delhi bus where they repeatedly raped her and beat them both before tossing them on to a road.

The woman died of internal injuries in Singapore two weeks after the December 16 attack in a case that sparked violent protests and turned a global spotlight on the treatment of women in India.

The 17-year-old defendant, who cannot be named under law, has been charged with the same 13 offences as his co-accused, including rape, murder and robbery, but is being tried separately by the juvenile court. He pleaded not guilty to all charges last week.

If found guilty, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in juvenile detention, while his adult co-accused, whose trial began last month, could face the death penalty.

That has infuriated many Indians, including some police and political leaders, who have called for tougher punishments for minors and lowering the age at which people can be tried as adults to 16 from 18.

"The boy appeared in court and heard the proceedings with a quiet and calm composure," a lawyer at Delhi's Juvenile Justice Board, which comprises a magistrate and two others, said.

The next hearing was set for March 15.

The lawyer, who asked not to be identified because of legal restrictions on reporting cases involving minors, said the trial was likely to last two to three months. The victim also cannot be named.

A magistrate who recorded the rape victim's statement while she was in hospital appeared in court as a prosecution witness, the lawyer said.

The government has ruled out lowering the age at which a defendant can be tried as an adult. India's juvenile justice laws have evolved over the past decade and are now in line with U.N. norms focused on humane treatment of minors.

The teenager is being held at a juvenile detention unit reserved for violent offenders, where he is kept in isolation for his own safety.

The other accused are being tried in a special fast-track court opposite the shopping mall where the victim and her friend went to watch the film "Life of Pi" before boarding the bus.

(Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Nick Macfie)

FILED UNDER:

REUTERS SHOWCASE

WTO Trade Deal

WTO Trade Deal

WTO clinches first global trade deal in its history  Full Article 

Kashmir Attack

Kashmir Attack

Ten dead in Kashmir's worst militant attack in more than a year  Read 

OPEC Meeting

OPEC Meeting

Saudis block OPEC output cut, oil price sinks further.  Full Article 

E-Commerce Boom

E-Commerce Boom

Online grocers come up trumps in India's e-commerce boom   Full Article 

GDP, RBI Preview

GDP, RBI Preview

GDP growth set to weaken, business wants reforms more than rate cut  Full Article | Related Story 

Jaitley to Rajan

Jaitley to Rajan

Jaitley likely to meet Rajan on Monday to urge rate cut  Full Article 

Banking Sector

Banking Sector

India moves to allow more businesses to offer basic financial services.  Full Article 

Jamini Roy

Jamini Roy

Photo Gallery – Bengali household name Jamini Roy’s paintings  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device  Full Coverage