Threatened lawyers refuse to defend murder accused

Kathmandu, November 22:

A group of lawyers today refused to defend the accused in the Devi Panta murder case under the jurisdiction of the Kathmandu District Court (KDC) after a group of people threatened them.

Ram Sharan Panta, Hari Sharan Panta, Dipak Panta, Len Kumari Panta, Rudra Panta, Ram Krishna Panta and Japanese national Tomoko Yamana Hirotaka are the accused in the murder case.

Chanting slogans, the people organised a protest outside the premises of the Kathmandu District Court and warned the lawyers not to defend the murder accused.

A group of advocates, including Hari Krishna Karki, Sabita Baral and Khagendra Adhikari, were present before the bench to defend the accused.

However, the advocates bacracked after the agitating people threatened them.

The prosecutors accused Ram Sharan of killing his wife, Devi, on November 12 and others of the family of hatching conspiracies against her after he married Japanese national Hirotaka.

They filed a chargesheet against the accused for the alleged killing of Devi, the first wife of Ram Sharan Panta, of Ichanguarayan village development committee-9, Kathmandu.

As the prosecution lawyers — Surendra Thapa and Yam Baniya — presented their arguments, the defence lawyers told judge Sushma Lata Mathema, who was hearing the case, that they cannot defend their clients in such a situation and sought protection.

“How can we defend the accused when people have been threatening us with dire consequences if we defended our clients?” advocate Karki told The Himalayan Times after the hearing.

“We call on the judge to take up the issue seriously and talk to the Supreme Court and the government to ensure protection for the lawyers,” the advocate added.