NEW DELHI // An Indian juvenile court has delayed delivering its verdict until August 5 in the case involving the fatal gang rape of a young woman on a New Delhi bus, a defence lawyer said yesterday.
The court had earlier said it would deliver its verdict yesterday. The verdict would have been the first handed down in the rape case, which led to furious street protests in India and sparked major reforms to the nation's antiquated sexual assault laws.
Defence lawyer Rajesh Tiwari told a throng of reporters outside the court that the verdict was delayed because of a Supreme Court case seeking to change the legal definition of a juvenile.
The defendant was 17 at the time of the attack last December and is being tried as a minor on charges including murder and rape. He faces a maximum sentence of three years at a reform centre. Court rules forbid the publication of his name even though he has since turned 18.
The defendant was one of six people accused of tricking a young woman and her male companion into boarding an off-duty bus on December 16. Police say the men then raped and brutalised the woman and savagely beat the man before dumping them naked on the roadside. The woman died from her injuries two weeks later in a Singapore hospital.
Four of the other defendants are being tried in a special fast-track court in New Delhi and face the death penalty. The sixth accused was found dead in his jail cell in March.