Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Justice Miss. Irony

Defending an accused in Pakistan has less to do with justice and more to do with ironies. In almost every case, police falsely implicates innocent people, incriminating materials (guns, blood stained daggers, axes and articles of deceased) are planted on the innocent, and witnesses absent from the crime scene are tutored to become eye-witnesses.

The ‘talented’ defence counsel ‘shatters’ the prosecution evidence with his ‘legal acumen’, cross-examines the prosecution witnesses ‘to separate grain from the chaff’ and addresses the trial court in a manner which is near to quarreling than arguing. The trial court awards the severest punishment prescribed for that offence in the penal code. The convicts languish in jail for 7/8 years before their appeal is heard in the high court. The high court maintains the verdicts of the trial court. They again appeal before the Supreme Court. The level of legal fee for the counsel increases with the court. Often the fee charged by the advocate in Supreme Court is 5/6 times more than what trial lawyer charged that often runs into 6 figures. The Supreme Court holds that the courts below didn’t appreciate the evidence, and frees the convicts. Justice is delivered at the cost of ruined families, neglected children, illegitimate children and run away wives.

I am defending a mother and her daughter. The mother in connivance with her paramour and her 17-year-old daughter allegedly killed her husband. According to the prosecution, the body was taken at a deserted place, soaked in petrol and burnt beyond recognition. The irony is that the prosecution has a child witness of ten-and-a-half years who would testify in the court. The child claims to know the illicit relationship between his mother and her paramour, the fact of his mother’s illicit relationship coming into his father’s notice, his father telling his mother to bar the paramour from visiting her, his mother and sister making plans with paramour to get rid of the father. The child witness also claims to have seen the whole occurrence of how the trio (mother-sister-paramour) killed the father before 4 minor siblings.

I will be cross-questioning the child. I have no doubt that the child would have been coached to details. His grandmother, who is complainant of the case, would have crossed all levels of indecency in coaching the child to give graphic details of the extra marital love life of his mother.

My one wrong question would trigger him into telling the intimate details of his mother’s physical relation with her paramour. How and where and when they made love in the house. The child witness would become less of a witness and more of a voyeur. That is the irony.

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