The Supreme Court on Monday stayed an order of the Kerala High Court granting bail to Jollyamma Joseph, the prime accused in the Koodathayi serial murders.
“There shall be stay of release from custody of the respondent,” a Bench of Justices Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Vineet Saran held.
The High Court had granted her bail on October 15 last year. The State of Kerala had appealed the bail order in the apex court.
The High Court had dismissed the prosecution version that Jollyamma had confessed to her crimes. She is accused of poisoning six persons, including her former husband Roy Thomas. “If an accused in police custody gave a confession to the police that he committed the offence, the same is not admissible in the eye of law,” the High Court had reasoned.
The High Court had also rejected the plea that bail for Jollyamma would spell danger to her life. It had declined the argument that she would influence the witnesses, who were mostly family members. The High Court had said that she would continue in jail despite bail because of her involvement in the other connected cases.
The High Court had criticised the police and the media for sensationalising the case. It had referred to how her alleged confession statements were “leaked” to the media.
“While the investigation was going on, the media used to divulge the details of the investigation every day. If we go through the morning newspaper or watch the news in news channels, we will get the confessions alleged to be given by the accused while in police custody,” the High Court had observed in the October order.