12 May 2012

Court Report Day 86– 10 May 2012

Court Report Day 86 – 10 May 2012

The court rejected the application to hear the Indian witnesses and the judge wants to finalize the evidence, once again.

The judge stated several reasons why the Indian crew of the dhow Hudhud can't be heard. Firstly, the necessary technical equipment didn't exist in India. The fact that India has become a centre for IT development seems to have escaped the judge. Not even the German embassy or the consulate had the required equipment (do the German embassy staff not communicate with their families in Germany?).

Secondly, a request for assistance from the German foreign office would take too long and would probably not happen this year.

Thirdly, the witnesses would not provide a lot of information. The first one had stated that he didn't want to leave his home town and was afraid of acts of revenge when he returned to sea. He had also said that he wouldn't be able to recognize any of the accused, because all Somali looked alike to him. The second witness has stopped answering his phone.

Then the judge referred to a statement made by one of the defendants during the last court day. The defendant had claimed that he had been been forced at gunpoint to participate and that he was in chains on the dhow. The judge said that this lacked credibility because he belonged to the same minority clan as another defendant who had not stated that he had been forced, and that he had made several phone calls to his wife.

The court is still waiting for an answer from the French navy regarding the fingerprints of the 'crown witness', which were allegedly taken when they arrested him prior to the attack on the Taipan.

One more application needs to be decided by the court (made on 16 April): that the Norwegian expert witness Stig Hansen be called again to confirm that the family of the 'crown witness' belonged to a different clan than he had stated, and that they had organized the attack on the Taipan.

Once that has been dealt with, the trial could come to a close once again, the judge said.