Prosecution lapses swayed verdict in Walayar case: panel

‘Prosecutors failed to truly and faithfully utilise proof gathered during probe’

The lapses committed by the two prosecutors during the trial of the sexual abuse and death case of two sisters in Walayar, “swayed the verdict” in the sensational case, the judicial commission has found.

The prosecutors “had not succeeded in truly and faithfully utilising the evidence gathered during the investigation and in conscientiously presenting all the materials proving the charges against the accused persons during the trial of the cases, while conducting the prosecution of the cases,” the commission noted.

P. K. Haneefa, a former district judge, who probed the lapses in the investigation and prosecution of the cases submitted the report to the State government last week. The commission was appointed following the public outrage against the acquittal of all the accused in the case. The commission had also blasted the police for the tardy investigation during the early stage and recommended action against Sub- Inspector P.C. Chacko.

Jalaja Madhavan and Latha Jayaraj were the two special public prosecutors in the case.

Serious lapses

The lapses on the part of the two in “conducting the prosecution of the cases were serious ones, which had influenced the court while pronouncing the judgements in the six sessions cases.”

The two prosecutors “had not taken any step to rectify the shortcomings in the final reports submitted by the investigating officer to the court, despite their opinion that the evidence collected during the investigation was not sufficient to establish the guilt of the accused persons.” It was the duty of the prosecutors to “require further investigation, if they had felt that there were shortcomings in the investigation, the commission noted.

Special Public Prosecutors for conducting the prosecution of sensitive and sensational cases shall be appointed only from a panel of advocates practising in criminal cases. Considering the “glaring lapses committed by them while conducting the prosecution of the cases, it is suggested that they may not be considered for the appointment to the post of Public Prosecutor in Session Courts in future,” the panel suggested.

Panel suggestions

Whenever, Public Prosecutors are appointed in Session Courts, they should be directed to undergo induction course for at least two months before assuming charge. The course may be conducted at the Kerala Judicial Academy in consultation with the High Court of Kerala, it was suggested.

The investigating officer in a sensational case may be given the liberty to seek legal opinion from senior advocates specialised in criminal cases, the commission suggested.

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