State Drops Rape Case Against Swami
July 16, 2007
The state dropped its case against Swami Jagadguru Ram Tripathi Maharaj who had been charged on May 18th with performing a grievous sexual assault on a 22 year old woman.
The Swami walked out of the San Fernando Magistrates Court a free man after the decision was made by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Roger Gaspard, to offer no evidence in the matter. Mr. Gaspard claimed that the evidence dealing with the alleged rape victim's lack of consent was tenuous and as such, the state would not be able to make a prima facie case against the accused.
The matter, which was heard in the first court before Deputy Chief Magistrate, Mark Wellington this morning, was then dismissed.
The Swami, who is said to have a large following of Ashrams in several countries including Europe, North America and India, came to Trinidad for a one month trip as part of a devotional tour. He was arrested on May 20th after a 22 year old Guyanese woman claimed that she was assaulted by the Swami in the prayer room of a house where the Swami stayed in Branch Road, Palmiste, San Fernando.
The Swami was granted 50,000 dollars bail on the condition that he surrendered his passport. On June 9th his attorneys successfully argued for the return of his passport so that he could continue his world tour.
Lead defense attorney, Prakash Ramadhar, applauded the move by Mr. Gaspard stating that he continues to be an exemplar in the office of the DPP. However, he condemned the police investigators who charged the Swami.
Addressing his supporters today at Branch Road, Palmiste, Swami Maharaj told his followers that he had forgiven the woman who had accused him of rape. He said the truth had prevailed and the charges were a test of their faith. Swami Maharaj is due to leave Trinidad tomorrow.
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