Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Can you argue an appeal without access to the record of trial?

How can a lawyer argue an appeal without access to the record of trial? That question is posed in three military court capital cases pending before the Peshawar High Court, in Pakistan? From this report in The International News:
“The non-availability of the record to the lawyers of the convicts is against Article 10-A of Constitution about fair trial,” argued Ghulam Mohiuddin Malik, counsel for Muhammad Tayyab who was awarded death sentence by a military court on terrorism charges. 
The deputy attorney general, who appeared in the cases, opposed the request by the lawyers for providing the case record to the lawyers. He said these were secret and sensitive documents that could be provided to the judges for inspection in appeals against convictions. 
The bench asked the lawyers to go through the detailed judgment of Supreme Court about the military courts and inform the court if there is any direction regarding provision of the case records to counsels for the convicts. 
The court rejected the request by the deputy attorney general to declare the proceedings of the cases as in-camera. “How can we declare the proceedings of an open court as in-camera?” Justice Roohul Amin Khan observed. The court extended the stay order on suspension of death sentence to the three militants till the next hearing of these cases and until court’s decision whether the record of the cases would be provided to the lawyers of the convicts.

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