Chennai: A medical student has been discharged by the Madras High Court of a criminal case, for having trespassed into her landlord’s house with the help of the keys given to her borne out of trust and stealing gold jewellery worth Rs.75 lakh. The allegation against her being of having broken open the locker with her classmate’s assistance.
Hindu reports that Justice V. Bharathidasan reversing a lower court order refused to discharge her from the case booked in 2014 by the Vishnu Kanchi police in Kancheepuram district. The judge took the above decision in the absence of prima facie evidence to prosecute the medical student, except for a co-accused student’s reported confession.
“Confession of co-accused cannot be elevated to the status of substantive evidence… The court shall not start with the confession of co-accused. It must first consider the other available evidence and after forming an opinion with regard to quality and veracity of the evidence, it can use the confession to lend assurance to the other evidence.”
“Further, it is settled law that at the time of framing charges, the court can sift and weigh the materials available on record for a limited purpose to find out as to whether a prima facie case is made out against the accused and the materials available on record disclose a clear suspicion against the accused.”
According to the prosecution’s statement to the court, the accused was a second-year student of MBBS residing, on the Ist floor of a rented accommodation at the time of the incident, stated to have occurred on February 10, 2014. The house owner, living on the ground floor, handed over his house key before going away to attend a marriage reception.
The prosecution alleged that the female student broke open the landlord’s locker placed in the bedroom with the help of a male classmate and stole the jewels, which were then kept in the custody of a female classmate, living in the college hostel. The police listed the petitioner’s male classmate- as the first accused and her, the second.
Justice Bharathidasan after discharging the medical student gave directions to the lower court to now conduct the trial against the sole accused, and take a merit-based decision, without letting observations made by him come in the way of taking a decision, in the present case reports the Hindu.