Rules suspects' right to fair trial important
The Islamabad High Court has instructed the police and prosecution to provide all the documents, including statements of witnesses, audio and visual evidence, and case challan, in the Noor Mukadam case to the suspects.
At a hearing on Wednesday, the counsel of Therapy Works, Asmat Adamjee, and Zakir Jaffer, pointed out that as per the law, copies of the statements recorded before the police and magistrates should be provided to the defense counsel.
“We were just given the statements of the witnesses, nothing else,” they said.
Justice Aamer Farooq remarked that all the evidence collected in the case, whether for or against the suspects, should be provided to lawyers of the accused persons. “This is important to maintain the suspects’ right to a fair trial.”
The police argued that all the records were provided to the lawyers along with the case challan. The lawyers retorted that the statement of one of the witnesses is missing from the case file. Asad Jamal, Asmat Adamjee’s counsel, added that CCTV footage obtained from the crime scene has not been provided as well.
Consequently, Justice Farooq inquired whether any statement recorded by the police under section 161was omitted from the challan.
The public prosecutor replied that the statement missing from the case file is of head constable Muhammad Jabir. “His statement was recorded on October 14, which has not even been submitted in court yet.”
His testimony was taken after the interim challan was submitted in court. It will be included in the supplementary challan.
Regarding the CCTV footage, the public prosecutor revealed that DVR transcripts were provided to the defense team.
The court asserted that it’s important all evidence is provided to the lawyers. “We will pass the order after which you have to give these documents to the lawyers of the accused in the trial court,” Justice Amir Farooq said, adding that this will also be mentioned in the order sheet of the trial court.
The judge also pointed out that attempts to delay the case trial were being made. The trial has to be completed within eight weeks. The Supreme Court never commented against the decision which means it has been upheld.
The court has reserved its verdict which will be announced later this week.
On October 14, Zakir Jaffer, father of Zahir Jaffer – the prime suspect in the Noor Mukadam murder case – challenged the sessions court’s decision to formally charge him for hiding evidence in the crime.
Last week, Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani indicted 12 suspects including Zahir, his parents, Zahir’s employees Muhammad Iftikhar, Jameel Ahmed, and Muhammad Jan, and six Therapy Works employees including CEO Tahir Zahoor.
Zakir’s application stated that the court’s verdict was inappropriate from a legal point of view.
At the hearing on Wednesday, the petitioner requested the high court to declare the trial court order void as the lower court “abused its authority and violated the law”.
Justice Aamer Farooq issued notices to the authorities concerned and adjourned the hearing till October 25.