Court to consider plea to move Delhi gang-rape trial

NEW DELHI (AFP) - India's Supreme Court agreed on Monday to consider a plea by defence counsel to transfer the trial of five men accused of a fatal gang-rape out of the capital New Delhi.

The court said it would hear the plea on Tuesday after Mr M.L. Sharma, counsel for defendant Mukesh Singh, said it would be impossible for his client to receive a fair hearing in the same city where the Dec 16 attack took place.

Anger over the killing of the 23-year-old student "has gone into the root of each home in Delhi" and "he cannot get justice in Delhi", said the petition presented by Mr Sharma on behalf of his client.

The trial of the five men was due to open later on Monday in a special "fast-track" court established to deliver speedy justice.

Emotions are still running high in India over the brutal attack on the student in mid-December that sparked violent street protests over the lack of safety for women and impassioned calls for harsher laws to punish rapists.

The five men face murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping and other charges, with prosecutors planning to demand the death penalty. A sixth suspect, who says he is 17, will be heard by a separate juvenile court.