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Zahir Jaffer’s lawyer files insanity plea after courtroom drama

Requests board be formed to determine his client's mental state

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 1, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Dec 1, 2021 | Last Updated: 2 months ago

Photo: AFP

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Th Noor Mukadam murder case has taken a new turn. The defense lawyer representing the primary accused, Zahir Jaffer, has filed an insanity plea in an Islamabad court seeking the formation of a medical board to determine his client's mental state. The plea comes after several episodes of a courtroom drama that involved Jaffer misbehaving with officials, hurling profanities at judiciary and eventually being sent back to prison by the judge. The application was submitted to Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani Wednesday afternoon. It states that Zahir "is suffering from severe mental ailment which is necessary to be determined through an authorised medical board according to the commands of legislature and local and international law". Zahir "is a chronic patient of mental disorder/schizoaffective disorder due to drug psychosis and the same was the position at the time of his arrest on [July 20]", it said. Zahir's counsel contended that when the trial court prepared charges against the suspect, he was unable to respond because "he was unable to understand the proceeding of the trial court". "The judge himself observed the demeanor, conduct, and state of mind of [Zahir Jaffer] during his appearance before the court and [the] same was aired on all news and TV channels what he [had] done ... and this honourable court sent the accused [Zahir] back to prison through police officials," it added. Zahir was thrown out of court twice on November 3 and 10 for misbehaving in the courtroom and hurling profanities at the judiciary. He was warned by the judge to mend his behaviour as well. The suspect's lawyer accused the police of "willingly hiding" Zahir's medical condition. Noor Mukadam's father Shaukat Mukadam, however, sees hidden motives behind the insanity plea. Mukadam's lawyer Shah Khawar has said that Zahir's behavior has been "planned" to obstruct the course of justice. When a court declares a suspect insane, the trial is suspended, he revealed. Insanity defense Insanity defense is recognized internationally. According to Cornell University's Legal Information Institute (LII), "in an insanity defense, the defendant admits the action but asserts a lack of culpability based on mental illness." It is based on the idea that the accused is incompetent to stand trial. " In accordance with due process requirements, a criminal defendant cannot stand trial if he or she is deemed legally incompetent," the LII says. The United States has refined legislation on insanity defense to prevent the misuse of the law. The trial On October 20, the sessions court began the case trial of the Noor Mukadam murder case. Earlier, 12 suspects including the prime suspect Zahir Jaffer were indicted for the murder of Noor Mukadam, 27.  Other suspects included Zahir’s parents Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, Zahir’s employees Muhammad Iftikhar, Jameel Ahmed, and Muhammad Jan, and six Therapy Works employees including CEO Tahir Zahoor.
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Th Noor Mukadam murder case has taken a new turn. The defense lawyer representing the primary accused, Zahir Jaffer, has filed an insanity plea in an Islamabad court seeking the formation of a medical board to determine his client’s mental state.

The plea comes after several episodes of a courtroom drama that involved Jaffer misbehaving with officials, hurling profanities at judiciary and eventually being sent back to prison by the judge.

The application was submitted to Additional Sessions Judge Atta Rabbani Wednesday afternoon. It states that Zahir “is suffering from severe mental ailment which is necessary to be determined through an authorised medical board according to the commands of legislature and local and international law”.

Zahir “is a chronic patient of mental disorder/schizoaffective disorder due to drug psychosis and the same was the position at the time of his arrest on [July 20]”, it said.

Zahir’s counsel contended that when the trial court prepared charges against the suspect, he was unable to respond because “he was unable to understand the proceeding of the trial court”.

“The judge himself observed the demeanor, conduct, and state of mind of [Zahir Jaffer] during his appearance before the court and [the] same was aired on all news and TV channels what he [had] done … and this honourable court sent the accused [Zahir] back to prison through police officials,” it added.

Zahir was thrown out of court twice on November 3 and 10 for misbehaving in the courtroom and hurling profanities at the judiciary. He was warned by the judge to mend his behaviour as well.

The suspect’s lawyer accused the police of “willingly hiding” Zahir’s medical condition.

Noor Mukadam’s father Shaukat Mukadam, however, sees hidden motives behind the insanity plea.

Mukadam’s lawyer Shah Khawar has said that Zahir’s behavior has been “planned” to obstruct the course of justice. When a court declares a suspect insane, the trial is suspended, he revealed.

Insanity defense

Insanity defense is recognized internationally. According to Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute (LII), “in an insanity defense, the defendant admits the action but asserts a lack of culpability based on mental illness.”

It is based on the idea that the accused is incompetent to stand trial. ” In accordance with due process requirements, a criminal defendant cannot stand trial if he or she is deemed legally incompetent,” the LII says.

The United States has refined legislation on insanity defense to prevent the misuse of the law.

The trial

On October 20, the sessions court began the case trial of the Noor Mukadam murder case. Earlier, 12 suspects including the prime suspect Zahir Jaffer were indicted for the murder of Noor Mukadam, 27. 

Other suspects included Zahir’s parents Zakir Jaffer and Asmat Adamjee, Zahir’s employees Muhammad Iftikhar, Jameel Ahmed, and Muhammad Jan, and six Therapy Works employees including CEO Tahir Zahoor.

 
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