Avenfield judgment full of typos, grammatical errors

Accountability court Friday verdict shows all signs of being compiled in great haste


Deposed prime minister Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: The landmark verdict in the Avenfield apartment case announced by an accountability court caused ripples across the country and beyond, but the 174-paged detailed judgment against three members of the Sharif family is marred by glaring typos, grammatical and spelling errors.

Throughout the judgment, Judge Muhammad Bashir of the accountability court referred to the Qatari prince as ‘Qattery’ prince. Also, he referred to Errol George, director of the Financial Investigation Agency (FIA) of the British Virgin Islands, whom the JIT contacted for information about the beneficial ownership of the Avenfield apartments, as "Errel Jeorge" or "Erel George". Both the spellings are incorrect.

Guilty as charged: Sharifs pay heavily for Avenfield flats

As the judge acquitted former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his daughter Maryam, and her husband Captain (retd) Safdar of the charge of obtaining the London flats through "corrupt, dishonest, or illegal means" under Section 9(a)(iv) of the National Accountability Ordinance, the courtroom was left guessing what the charge actually was.

“Prosecution have not bright evidence in respect of 9(a)(iv) NAO 1999. So the accused are acquitted under the section of law,” the judge wrote. Whether he wanted to say that there was no evidence at all to prove this charge or it was insufficient is left to readers’ imagination.

While rejecting the defence's argument that certain mutual legal assistance (MLA) responses were not admissible in evidence, the judge wrote: “Response of MLA cannot be brushacite simply on technical grounds …” Perhaps, he intended to write ‘brushed aside’.

He wrote ‘guild’ when he wanted to say ‘guilt’ and referred to Maryam’s father as ‘his father’. “Maryam Nawaz was instrumental in concealment of the properties of his father … All the objections raised by defence in respect of exhibited documents stand overruled,” he wrote at one place.

At another page he wrote, “[The] JIT found contradictions and anomalies those arte mentioned at pages 5 to 21.” The judge also erred in using helping verbs at several places. “The trust deeds are filed to mislead the court and does not prepared on date noted in this deed,” he wrote at another place.

These and other mistakes could be attributed to the haste in which the judgment was written and compiled. The Avenfield reference was filed on September 8, 2017 and taken up for regular hearings from the following week.

After almost 10 months of proceedings and roughly 80 plus appearances by Nawaz, Maryam and Safdar, the defence concluded final arguments on July 3. Interestingly, two minutes after the arguments were concluded, the judge announced the verdict to be read on July 6.

The abrupt announcement surprised many as the judge was supposed to sift through thousands of pages produced by both sides to reach and write down his verdict, which was expected to run in hundreds of pages. And when the day arrived, the judge delayed the announcement numerous times.

On Friday, it was expected that the verdict would be announced in the morning if the judge was going to dismiss the postponement plea. When he dismissed that application shortly before 11am, he announced that the judgement would be out at 12:30pm. But at 12:30, the court officials gave the new time of 2:30 and at 2:30 they announced the delay of another half an hour.

We're coming back on Friday, says Maryam

At 3pm, the judge himself explained to the lawyers and the reporters that the judgement was being given final touches and it would take some more time to finalise and print it. It was obvious that the judge and his staff were struggling to meet the deadline they had set themselves.

“It is to certify that this judgment is comprising upon 174 pages. Each page has been signed by me after making necessary corrections therein wherever required,” read Judge Bashir’s note at the end of the judgment.

Observing the errors in the written order, many are of the view that the judge should have spent enough time writing and working

Seeing all these error in his judgment, many think the judge should have taken his time to write and proofread the verdict as it would be perused by many in the times to come.

COMMENTS (11)

mrashidhai | 3 years ago | Reply Both the spellings are correct judgement or judgment.
Parvez | 3 years ago | Reply .....and the truth will never be known.
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