An Indian court found a teenager guilty on Saturday over the fatal gang-rape of a student in New Delhi, a crime that sparked revulsion and angry protests in the country, an official said.
"He has been held guilty for rape and murder and sentenced to three years subject to review," Anil Sharma, the chief investigating officer in the case, told reporters outside the court in the capital on Saturday.
The teenager, believed to be the most brutal of the group, will be sent to correctional facility as he was tried as a minor since he was 17 at the time of the crime.
The maximum sentence under the present Indian Juvenile Justice Act is three years.
He had denied the charges, as do four adult men also on trial for the same attack.
"We will study the judgement and may appeal the verdict," said Rajesh Tewari, the defence lawyer, moments after the verdict came out.
The first verdict in the case comes after four delays since the wrapping up of testimony and legal arguments.
The 23-year-old physiotherapy student died of internal injuries after being raped and assaulted with an iron bar allegedly by six men on the night of December 16. Her male companion was also beaten up before both were thrown from the bus.
The student died in a Singapore hospital two weeks later.
The four others accused in the case could face the death penalty.
A fifth adult defendant was found dead in his cell in March and prison officials said they believed he hanged himself.
The victim\’s mother emerged from the court in tears, saying "he got just three years … from December onwards he has been given three years".
The victim\’s family had earlier called for the teenager to be given the death penalty, saying the juvenile justice system, which seeks to reform rather than punish, was too lenient.
The teenager was charged over a savage attack on a woman and her male companion on a moving bus on December 16.
Meanwhile, a special fast-track court dealing with the trial of the four men accused in the case has been hearing closing arguments.
A judge who has been hearing the case since the trial began in February is expected to deliver his verdicts in mid-September.
The gang-rape of a 22-year-old photographer in the financial hub of Mumbai this month rekindled anger over the safety of women in India.
The trial of four adult suspects continues, but is expected to wrap up in the next few weeks, with the men facing a possible death sentence if convicted.
In March, India passed a new bill containing harsher punishments, including the death penalty, for rapists.
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