Court case agaist St Leonards-based Nepalese colonel collapses

Court news
Court news

The case of a St Leonards-based Nepalese colonel accused of torture in his home country has collapsed.

Kumar Lama, 49, of St Peter’s Road, was facing a retrial at the Old Bailey in London.

Earlier this year, a jury cleared him of one charge of torture.

The prosecution said there was no realistic chance of a conviction on the second charge.

Col Lama was accused of torturing two suspected Maoist rebels held as prisoners at the Gorusinghe Army Barracks, in Kapilvastu, during Nepal’s civil war.

The Nepalese Civil War saw Communist rebels attempt to overthrow the country’s monarchy and lasted from 1996 until 2006.

Col Lama was arrested while on holiday in England in January 2013 from his posting as a UN peacekeeper in South Sudan.

Charges against him were brought under section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act.

This allows suspects to face trial before a British court even if their alleged offences are committed abroad and they are not citizens of the UK.

Col Lama denied two counts of torture between April 15 and October 31, 2005.

Last year, the original trial had to be abandoned due to difficulty in finding Nepalese interpreters.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: “This was an unusual and challenging case and we respect the decision of the jury.

“We will not be seeking a retrial having considered the developments at the trial.”

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