Jury deliberates in Indian student spying case in US

March 15th, 2012 - 10:22 am ICT by IANS  

New York, March 15 (IANS) A New Jersey Jury ended the first day of its deliberations without reaching a verdict in the trial of Indian American student Dharun Ravi, accused of spying on his gay roommate with a webcam.

Ravi’s then roommate at Rutgers state university Tyler Clementi jumped to his death from the George Washington Bridge days after the alleged spying of his intimate encounter with another man.

Ravi, now 20, could face years in prison if convicted of charges including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation, a hate crime.

The jury went home for the night after about four hours of deliberation Wednesday after asking Judge Glenn Berman about one of the bias intimidation charges, wanting to know definitions of “intimidation” and “purpose.”

Lawyers gave their summations Tuesday in the case, which included testimony from about 30 witnesses over 12 days.

Defence attorney Steven Altman told jurors that Ravi was surprised to turn on his webcam and see his roommate in an intimate situation with another man.

He emphasised that there was no recording, no broadcast and no YouTube video of the Sep 19, 2010, encounter.

Ravi was not acting out of hatred of his roommate or gays in general when he saw the image from his webcam on the computer of another student, he said.

“If there’s hate in Dharun’s heart, if there’s ugliness in Dharun’s heart, where’s there some information and some evidence to support it?” Altman asked jurors.

Julia McClure, a prosecutor for Middlesex County, recalled testimony from some of Ravi’s high school friends that even before Ravi moved into the dorm, he was concerned about having a gay roommate.

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