Special Correspondent

Church manager murder case

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has confirmed the life sentence imposed on a person by a lower court in connection with the murder of the manager of a church at St.Thomas Mount here.

Jacob alias Jacob Fernando, the manager, was murdered on November 26, 2006. The police arrested Ramesh alias Ramesh Babu in connection with the crime.

In September last year, the Additional District and Sessions Judge, FTC-I, Chengalpattu, found the accused guilty of the charge under section 302 (punishment for murder) IPC and sentenced him to life imprisonment and to pay a fine of Rs.10,000.

Against this, Ramesh filed appeal.

Counsel submitted that the appellant suffered from paranoid schizophrenia, a mental illness and it had been established by examining doctors and producing medical records and the circumstances which preceded, attendant and followed the crime.

Ramesh was suffering from insanity and he was not fully aware of his activities and its consequences. He was entitled to benefit of general exception under the IPC.

The Additional Public Prosecutor, Hassan Mohammed Jinnah, said no medical record was produced to show that the appellant was suffering from mental illness.

In its judgment, a Division Bench comprising Justices C.Nagappan and M.Jeyapaul said no proof was adduced by the accused regarding his state of mind at the time of commission of the offence. There was deliberation and preparation for the act, the Bench said..

It was true there was no motive for the occurrence but it could not in the absence of proof of legal insanity bring the present case within the ambit of section 84 IPC (Act of a person of unsound mind). Actuated by religious fanaticism, Ramesh had ventured to attack the victim to death, the Bench said.

There was no merit in the appeal, the court said and dismissed the appeal.