Ravi seeks upturning of hate crime conviction

The Indian-origin student of Rutgers University was found guilty of bias intimidation for spying on his gay roommate`s sexual encounter.

New York: An Indian-origin student of Rutgers University, who was found guilty of bias intimidation for spying on his gay roommate`s sexual encounter, is seeking to have the conviction against him overturned and be granted a new trial in the case.

Lawyers for Dharun Ravi, 20, submitted a 33-page brief in Superior Court in New Brunswick requesting that the judge acquit him entirely or at least grant him a new trial.

The motion also requests that Ravi be allowed to remain free on bail after sentencing, pending the planned appeal.

Attorneys Steven Altman and Philip Nettl said in the motion that Ravi`s conviction be overturned as there is evidence that he did not intimidate or invade the privacy of his gay roommate Tyler Clementi, who had committed suicide in September 2010 after finding out Ravi had spied on him using a webcam.

Ravi was found guilty in March on charges of bias intimidation and invasion of privacy and faces up to 10 years in prison and possible deportation to India when he is sentenced on May 21.

The motion filed in court contends that evidence presented at trial showed Ravi was not guilty of invading the privacy or intimidating Clementi.

The attorneys argue that in the bias intimidation counts, which are the more serious of the charges that Ravi faces, the law was misapplied.

"To criminalise a defendant for a victim`s mistaken belief about the defendant`s motive would turn the bias intimidation statute into a mockery of itself," the lawyers said.

On some of those counts, the jury acquitted Ravi of intending to intimidate Clementi and his partner, but convicted him on grounds Clementi felt intimidated and felt Ravi`s actions were purposeful.


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