A family picture of Dean Hofstee taken at his 19th birthday celebrations in 2008.
A family picture of Dean Hofstee taken at his 19th birthday celebrations in 2008.

Outrageous claim by coward killer’s dad

Cowardly killer driver Puneet Puneet's father says his son, who is continuing a prolonged and outrageous fight to avoid Australian justice, is the real victim.

In the latest blow to the family of Puneet's victim Dean Hofstee - who have so far waited 3893 days for Puneet to be held to account - Naresh Kumar said his son's life would be at risk if he was extradited.

And Mr Kumar said his family had been ruined.

Puneet's lawyers have tried to argue in court that in their effort to obtain extradition Australian authorities are twisting the facts by calling a "simple accident" culpable homicide.

On October 1, 2008, Puneet, who was then 19, hit and killed Mr Hofstee, a 19-year-old Queensland student, while drunkenly speeding along City Rd in Southbank.

He pleaded guilty to culpable driving but in 2009 fled while on bail awaiting sentence.

He has fought extradition since his 2013 arrest.

Puneet outside court in Delhi in May.
Puneet outside court in Delhi in May.

Talking exclusively to the Herald Sun on Wednesday, Mr Kumar said Puneet's wife had sued him for mental disturbance and his inability to behave as a "responsible husband".

He said: "She says Puneet is not mentally fit to be her husband and take care of their three-year-old child.

"Whatever happened in Australia is wrong - a life was lost. It was all unintentional," Mr Kumar said.

"He was there to study and make a future for himself, and for us. Our dreams are shattered … Our family is ruined. We lost everything; all our family finances are exhausted.

"We have nothing left."

Mr Kumar said: "My son was the only hope for our future, but he too has lost fight with life. He is so exhausted with this court case that he attempted suicide twice.

"He is not mentally fit. He doesn't understand what is going on. He doesn't understand the case now."

A family picture of Dean Hofstee taken at his 19th birthday celebrations.
A family picture of Dean Hofstee taken at his 19th birthday celebrations.

Labelling Australia a racist country, he said: "Under such conditions, I am concerned about the life of my son. He will not be given due legal help and will not be treated fairly."

In New Delhi court earlier this week, Puneet's counsel, Kanhaiya Kumar Singhal, said his client's case was not within the "extradition domain".

He argued that under the terms of Australia and India's extradition treaty, only offences punishable in both countries by at least a year in jail were extraditable offences.

Puneet is accused of culpable driving, negligently causing serious injury, and improper use of a foreign travel document.

The scene of the crash on City Rd in Southbank in 2018.
The scene of the crash on City Rd in Southbank in 2018.

"All … carry a sentence of less than a year (in India), and as per the extradition treaty Puneet cannot be taken to Australia," Mr Singhal said.

"It (the accident) is death due to negligence and not culpable homicide, as described by Australian authorities … they deliberately elongated the case to 'culpable homicide' so to make it extraditable," Mr Singhal said.

"The actual case is death by negligence, which carries less than a year sentence as per the law of our country - so he cannot be extradited."

Talking to the Herald Sun outside court, Mr Singhal said he was optimistic Puneet would succeed in his fight.

But lawyers representing Australia rejected this.

"We are sure his claims will fall flat and Puneet will be extradited … We are sure that justice will be delivered soon."

The case resumes on July 15.

@tawqeerhussain



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