A principal sessions court in Kerala’s Kottayam district on Thursday convicted 10 of the 14 people accused of killing a Dalit Christian man last year, PTI reported. The court observed that the relatives of Kevin P Joseph’s wife were involved in his murder, and called it a case of “honour killing”. On Saturday, Principal Sessions Judge CS Jayachandran will hear the arguments on the quantum of punishment to be awarded to the convicts.

Joseph was found dead in Kollam city on May 28, 2018, just three days after he married Neenu Chacko, who is from an elite Christian family. Soon afterwards, the police arrested Chacko’s father, brother and three relatives. However, the court convicted only 10 people, including Joseph’s brother-in-law, and acquitted the rest because of lack of evidence.

Special Public Prosecutor CS Ajayan said those convicted were found guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including murder and kidnapping for ransom.

During the hearing, the prosecution had argued that Joseph’s brother-in-law Syanu Chacko, and his father-in-law Chacko John were reluctant to let Neenu Chacko marry Joseph. The defence counsel refuted the charge and claimed Chacko John had agreed to the marriage during a reconciliation talk held at a police station.

Neenu Chacko disputed this and on Thursday alleged: “My father did not allow me to live with Kevin.” She said he was abducted and killed by her family members. She stays with Joseph’s parents at present.

The trial in the case began on April 24 with the examination of witnesses, followed by examination of the accused, The Hindu reported. The hearing was completed in a record time of just over three months, and was conducted without any interruptions. The proceedings drew to a close on July 30.

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