Friday September 22, 2023

PHC asks if case record can be given to convicts’ counsels

July 27, 2016

Extends stay order on suspension of death sentences to three militants 

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday asked the law officers and lawyers for those convicted on terror charges by the military courts to assist the court at the next hearing whether the record of the cases could be handed over to the convicts’ counsels for inspection.

A two-member bench comprising of Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani and Justice Muhammad Daud Khan sought assistance on this law point after counsels for the convicted militants asked why the record of the cases wasn’t being provided to them.

“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.

At the previous hearing, a division bench comprising Justice Yahya Afridi and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth had suspended the death sentences awarded to Muhammad Tayyab, Muhammad Ayaz and Azizur Rehman. Their fathers had filed review petitions against the military courts’ verdict.