Ravi not to take witness stand to defend himself



New York: An Indian-origin student will not take the witness stand to defend himself in his trial for spying on his Rutgers University roommate's sexual encounter with another man as his defence team rested its case in a US court on Tuesday.

Dharun Ravi, 20, was asked by Middlesex County Superior Court Judge Glenn Berman if he had decided not to testify in the case. Ravi replied "Yes". If convicted Ravi faces 10 years in prison.

Defence attorney Steven Altman then told the jury he was wrapping up its case, after bringing nine witnesses to testify in the trial, which is into its second week.

"I don't think there was anything to gain by it," Altman said. "There was no reason to put him on. There were witnesses that came forward and said he was not biased. There is no reason to subject him to cross-examination."

The prosecution and defence will present closing arguments in the case on Tuesday, following which the jury would begin its deliberations.

While the jury will now not hear directly from Ravi, they had been shown a video in which he was interrogated by the police after Clementi committed suicide.

In the video, Ravi had admitted to investigators that he invaded the privacy of his roommate but did not do it deliberately and had later sent him a message apologising for his actions.

Ravi faces 15 counts of bias intimidation, witness and evidence tampering and invasion of privacy charges for spying on his roommate Tyler Clementi as he kissed another man in his dorm room in September 2010.

Ravi had shared online with his other friends that he had seen Clementi kiss another man and had invited them to see the encounter. Days later, Clementi committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge here.

PTI