Kendrapara: A local court on Friday found the three young men accused in the much-hyped attempted rape and murder of a minor girl case in Odisha`s Kendrapara district as juvenile delinquents.
The district sessions judge of Kendrapara said the three youths accused of setting ablaze a 15-year-old girl after attempting to rape her, will now face trial as juveniles.
They may face a maximum of three years in prison if convicted.
The minor girl was allegedly set ablaze by all the three accused persons after they failed to rape her. The victim girl was badly burnt and succumbed to serious burn injuries on August 8 in the Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar after battling with life for 11 days.
The death of the burn victim had triggered statewide outrage.
The District and Sessions judge Bijaya Ketan Mohanty endorsed their juvenile status on the strength of their school admission records and ordered for the fresh trial of the case in the district juvenile justice board.
The court also ordered for the shifting of the under-trials from Kendrapara jail to reformatory home. The court rejected the police claim of accused persons being major and disallowed the ossification test report.
The bone density test to determine the accused persons age is not required in the case as the school admission register throws ample light of their age, said defence counsel A K Senapati.
All the three accused persons will now stand trial before the district juvenile board and if convicted will be sent to a juvenile detention centre.
As per the court verdict, the accused persons are not majors when they committed the crime. Despite the grave nature of the offence, they deserve a chance of reformation instead of punishment, said Bipin Behari Barik, member of district juvenile justice board.