Making a mockery of legal procedure in the Saulat Mirza trial

[embed width="620"]http://www


com/video/x2jxtye[/embed] While watching various talk shows and social media discussions on this issue, I was surprised to see how a majority of the people who were unaware of what the abbreviation CrPC (Criminal Procedure Code) even stood for were passing judgement and participating in the discussion

For those unacquainted with the law, I would like to inform them that the moment a person is arrested for any criminal offence – from the time an FIR is registered till the time the person is convicted or acquitted – the legal procedure is bound under the laws of the CrPC which define each and every step of the trial

As a litigation lawyer, I am going to discuss certain details of the case which will shed some light on how the criminal procedure in our country works

Recently, MQM senator, Barrister Farogh Naseem, said in a press conference that Mirza’s confessional video bears no legal standing, is illegal and against the constitution as well as international law

I would like to add to his statement that it is also against the procedure of criminal prosecution, especially keeping in mind that a similar type of confessional video was released about 17 years ago

The prosecution never considered it and preferred itself confined to whatever is mentioned in the FIR and the investigation report, which we normally call charge-sheet

Those, especially TV anchors and their guests, who are now claiming that Mirza should be produced before a judicial magistrate and his statement should be recorded as per Section 164 of the CrPC, and those who are saying that a new FIR should be lodged against the person he named in his statement, are just trying to malign the criminal prosecution

Through their inexperienced analysis, they are also admitting that Mirza’s conviction was not justified and hence are questioning the criminal prosecution procedure of our country

After a person is arrested for any offence and an FIR is lodged against him, the accused has three opportunities when he can admit to his crime

In Mirza’s case, the first opportunity was when he was under investigation

During this period, if he were to confess to the crime, he would have produced evidence, which he has now, before a magistrate as per Section 164

The provisions of Section 164 clearly explain that a confession can only be taken into consideration “before commencement of trial”

Those who are currently claiming that Mirza’s statement can help his case now should know that the trial has not only commenced but has been confirmed by the high court, supreme court and the president of Pakistan

Therefore, the magistrate, being at the bottom of the judicial hierarchy in this case, cannot supersede the verdict passed by higher judiciaries nor is it allowed as per the CrPC

Hence, his statement cannot oppose the decision

The second opportunity when a person’s confession is considered is during trial

During this period, the alleged convict can also name other accused persons involved in the crime and the court has power to call those persons and convict them as per Section 242 of the CrPC

A charge-sheet is then produced and presented by the prosecution based on the allegations and the court then individually asks each of the accused whether he/she admits to the crime or not

In Mirza’s case, Mirza denied the allegations and preferred to be tried

On his denial, the prosecution was directed to produce the required evidence and witnesses before court

The third and final chance, as per Section 342 of the CrPC, is before the court passes a verdict

The judge asks the accused whether he finds himself guilty or not guilty on the basis of the depositions of the witnesses and other evidence

In Mirza’s case, Mirza again denied all the allegations, despite the witnesses and evidence against him

According to him, he was a victim of circumstances and that the prosecution failed to produce any concrete evidence to prove his guilt in the offence

The court then convicted him and this is called the “commencement of trial”

Those who are suggesting that a new FIR should be lodged based on Mirza’s recent statement, perhaps they can also tell us who the complainant is going to be? Will it be the state itself or will it be Saulat Mirza? The new FIR will be in violation of section 403 of the CrPC

Section 403 contemplates a situation where a person has once been tried by a court of competent jurisdiction and acquitted or convicted by such cannot be tried again for the same offence nor for any other offence based on similar facts

Hence, lodging a new FIR will create more legal lacunas

On the basis of these allegations, they can malign their opponents on media or social media

Those who are not informed about legal issues can get ratings and appreciations from likeminded people, but they are also making a mockery of the legal procedure and the law itself

Date:26-Mar-2015 Reference:View Original Link