Freddie does a somersault

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An agreement signed by Freddie to arrive at a settlement with Republic of Italy, the owner of the boat involved in firing with Italian vessel Enrica Lexie, pointed out that he was sleeping at the time of the incident and at 4.30 pm he got up from deep sleep after hearing noise of firing.

Freddie somersaulted from his earlier version that he had seen continuous firing in air, blowing of horns, siren and flashing lights.

Whereas, the reports had pointed out that the Italian marines had fired upon the boat without firing warning shots or giving any kind of warning signals.

Coastguard also said that the incident happened during broad day light and searchlight would not be visible to the boat crew.

Freddie’s statements in the agreement to settle for compensation were weakening the criminal case against Italian marines. He is also a witness in the case.

“The fishing boat was running at a high speed and was dangerously approaching another vessel,” Freddie said in the agreement adding that one of the victim Jelestine, was navigating the fishing boat or rather sleeping at the helm, as he was fishing the whole night, and did nothing to avoid other vessel that had come close.

However coast guard had earlier found that fishing boat with maximum speed of 10 Knots could not result in a close shave with Enrica Lexie.

“Freddie was shocked to see Jelestine on the driving seat as he did not have a licence and the person who had licence was sleeping. At the time the boat was in high seas.

Then Freddie took charge of the boat, and manoeuvred the boat to further high sea,” the agreement said.

Freddie noticed two bullets only, one hitting the top of the boat and other on the gas cylinder kept inside the wheel house. After the incident Freddie turned the boat towards the territorial water of India.

Hc says families wasting court’s time

The Kerala high court on Friday criticised the families of the slain fishermen, for moving court seeking permission to withdraw all submissions including the oral petition made by them.

“You had completed your arguments on the petition and now you are withdrawing it. Is this a pressure tactic for settlement with Italy?

This was a wastage of the Court's valuable time and you are liable to bear a heavy cost for it. The petitioners’ stand is not in line with criminal justice,” HC said.

Justice P S Gopinathan made the observations while considering an application filed by the legal heirs of the fishermen, Jelastine’s wife Doramma and Ajeesh Pink’s sisters.

Their petition: to withdraw the affidavits and submissions made by them against Italy’s plea to quash the FIR registered against the marines.

The victims’ kin made it clear that they were not going ahead with their earlier pleadings and submissions after they reached an out-of-court settlement of Rs 1 crore each.

HC had earlier impleaded the legal heirs after the victims’ families insisted the court hear their arguments.

They court impeladed them in a petition filed by the two marines Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone challenging the FIR.

Centre fully supports Kerala

After a controversy was created by the statement of its law officer in the Supreme Court in the Kerala fishermen killing case, the Centre in its affidavit has fully supported the action of the state police to initiate prosecution of the two Italian marines as well as seizing the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie.

In clear contradiction to the Additional Solicitor-General’s earlier statement on the matter, the Centre has said that Kerala police has the jurisdiction to deal with the matter.

The Union government said that it was a matter between the Kerala and Italian governments to decide on whether the ship can be allowed to leave the Kochi shores.

Meanwhile, the state government filed a separate affidavit in reply to the Italian ship owners' petition seeking a directive to release the vessel.

In its seven-page affidavit, the state made it clear that the crime was committed on Indian waters and the state had every right to book a case. Also, the two fishermen killed were in a boat registered in India.

Therefore, Kerala police was fully within the law to take action. In such a situation, the issue of territorial waters holds no ground.

Have ‘to go on with life,’ says boat owner

The turnaround by J Freddie, the boat owner of St Antony involved in the Enrica Lexie firing incident, has left many surprised.

On Friday, he defended himself saying he had got a ‘good offer’ and accepted it because he had “to go on with the life which was destroyed by the firing incident.”

“Yes, chief minister Oommen Chandy consoled me and encouraged me to go ahead with my life. Mere promises won’t take me ahead.

I have lost lakhs of rupees with this unfortunate incident. If the victims of the firing incident can accept the offer made by the Republic of Italy, why can’t I,” he asks.

On why he had made such conflicting statements, he was evasive and only said, “You should ask my lawyer.” Freddie’s counsel Raja VIjayaraghavan, told DC that the offer made by Italy “will definitely be beneficial to Freddie and his family”.

Statement may ‘help’ Lexie, marines

The conflicting statements made by boat owner Freddy before the Kerala high court as per the agreement signed between him and Republic of Italy may shatter the state’s hopes in defending the Enrica Lexie case.

Criminal lawyer S. Rajeev said that the Supreme Court in various cases had quashed the FIRs registered after recording the statements made in the civil disputes as done by Freddy now.

He further stated that even in cases under Prevention of Corruption Act, the court had considered such statements as valid points.

Meanwhile, the state legal authorities maintained that the “state has a strong case in hand and it can prosecute the two marines who are lodged at the Poojappura Central Prison.”

According to director general of prosecution Asaf Ali, the state has got all scientific proof to justify that the incident happened in Indian waters.

The Forensic Science Laboratory FSL report is good enough for the state to prove that the marines fired at the fishermen.

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