Between Italy and owner of the boat fired upon by marines on board Enrica Lexie

The High Court on Friday approved the out-of-court settlement reached between Italy and J. Freddy, owner of the boat which was fired upon by two marines on board the Italian-flagged ship Enrica Lexie off the Kerala coast on February 15 this year. Two fishermen from Kollam were killed in the incident

Justice A.M. Shaffique recorded the Lok Adalat order accepting the out-of-court-settlement for Rs.17 lakh. The court disposed of his plea seeking Rs.72 lakh as compensation.

Mr. Freddy, in a signed statement, said the Italian marines should not be prosecuted under the first information report (FIR) registered at the Neendakara police station. Mr. Freddy said he had pardoned the two marines responsible for the killing ‘‘in the name of Jesus; the inconvenience and sufferings the marines are facing may come to an end at the earliest so that they could be united with their families in Italy at the earliest”. A Lok Adalat Bench comprising K. John Mathew and Sreelatha Devi had accepted the agreement. Mr. Freddy's counsel Raja Vijayaraghavan and Suhail Dutt, counsel for Italy, were present before the court. Italian Consul-General Giampaolo Cuttillo handed over a demand draft to Mr. Freddy.

In another development, Justice P.S. Gopinathan orally observed that going back on the original petition in criminal cases would not help meet the ends of justice. On April 24, family members of the deceased Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki had reached a compromise with Italian authorities and each family accepted Rs.1 crore as compensation. The High Court had permitted the families to withdraw their contentions made against Italy's plea for quashing the FIR against the marines.

The Bench slammed Mr. Freddy and the families of the fishermen for going back on their original petition, and said “once money changed hands everyone changed their stance.”

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