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Seaman Guard Ohio Bail Hearing Verdict Expected Tomorrow #FREESGO6

The situation as was the 23rd February 2016

The hearing is now over and orders have been reserved. No date has been given for the judgement but they will be looking out for the judgement being posted from tomorrow. However, they don’t really know how long it will take for the judgement to be given.

Manoj said the hearing went well. The prosecution started their arguments around 11.15am and went on for half an hour. The defence then started their counter arguments, there was a lunch break, and the defence continued for another 45 minutes after the lunch break. He lengthy arguments were put forward to leave no doubt in the judge’s mind about the situation and that the lawyers are hopeful that bail will be granted.

Further information was received from the lawyers later that day

Today again we had an lengthy argument.

The initial argument was done by the state public prosecutor (SPP). He argued for 30 mins.

There after we commenced our counter, and this went on for 45 mins (till lunch break). After the lunch we continued for around one hour.

The SPP was stressing that the ship was carrying prohibited arms, which is a crime under the Indian Arms Act. He was arguing that the arms were designed to be automatic and hence it has to be categorised as automatic weapon.  Another  issue he raised was that they have no evidence that the ship was engaged in anti piracy operation. Another issue he raised was that the men might jump bail.

During our argument we went into length about the arms and its construction and design. Once the ballistic expert has given his finding the prosecution cannot over rule their own witness, who is an expert. The court was also told that the prosecution cannot pick and choose and read between lines, from the ballistic experts cross examination findings.

We also cited various proof to establish that the ship was engaged in anti piracy operation. During the cross examination the coast guard commander has stated that the ship was engaged in anti piracy operation. The committee of police, intelligence and other agencies have testified that the ship was engaged in anti piracy operation. All these documents are before the court.  Hence it was argued that the prosecution cannot feign ignorance that they are not aware of the nature of business of the vessel.

The court was told that the men have maintained exemplary behaviour and they have not broken the law during the bail period. It was also told to the court that the prosecution is aware that the men have been on bail and again they were sentenced to prison and later again they obtained the bail. As such they have been always complying with the law and they have been very co-operative. Hence they must be given bail.

One important aspect with was once again raised today was, that when it will be proved during the appeal that, these men are innocent of the charges under the Arms Act, will it not be injustice towards the men if they remain in jail for a crime which they have not committed.  It was told to the court that the men will abide by the bail conditions and hence they must be released on bail on the same condition, under which they were granted bail on the earlier occasion.

The judge has reserved his orders as he needs time to write the order. In conviction cases, the judge has to mention the circumstances under which he is granting bail.

Tomorrow….we are told there is a high possibility we will have the bail verdict. We are all living in hope it is a positive outcome #FREESGO6

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