Manohar Lal Sharma, the lawyer for Mukesh Singh, one of the five men accused of gang raping and killing 23-year-old physiotherapy student Jyoti Singh Pandey, is demanding an age-verification test for his client to prove he's under 18-years-old — reported the Associated Press via CBS News.
"If you could just see his face, he is only a child," Sharma said while claiming his client had been "manipulated" during the gruesome December 16 sexual attack that rocked the world's largest democracy.
However, some think Sharma's request could be a tactic to delay the case from being tried in a fast-track court.
The age verification could be the difference for Singh between being tried in a juvenile court, where he would face a maximum sentence of three years in a reform facility, and being tried as an adult — which could potentially lead to a death sentence.
According to Sharma, Singh "had added several years to his age to get a driver's license." It is unclear what would be the nature of the age-verification test and whether the court would meet the request.
The AP also reported that, last week, Sharma made "a series of inflammatory and often-contradictory statements," saying — among other things — that "police had beaten the five charged suspects and placed other prisoners into their cells to threaten them with knives."