‘CCTV footage of Noor murder cannot be shared with accused’

Prosecution tells trial court footage may go viral if shared with defendants


Saqib Bashir October 09, 2021
Zahir Jaffer being taken into police custody. PHOTO: Screengrab

ISLAMABAD:

Islamabad Sessions Court Judge Ata Rabbani has said that the prosecution has informed the trial court that the CCTV footage of Noor Muqqadam’s murder could not be given or shared with the accused or their lawyers as the footage may go viral.

In his written judgment on petitions of suspects, the judge said that the court was informed by the prosecution during the hearing that CCTV footage of the incident was not being given to the accused because it feared that the footage of the gruesome murder may go viral.

The judgement said that it was not in public interest either to share the CCTV footage keeping in view the deference of both parties. The court, while acknowledging the prosecution’s position, said that if during the trial, the defence lawyers expressed their desire to cross-examine the CCTV footage, it would be displayed in the court.

Read Indictment of Zahir, others postponed

While dismissing all five petitions of the accused, the trial court expressed the hope that the accused would not demand to postpone the trial further. The verdict said that the Islamabad High Court has already ordered to wrap up the case within eight weeks.

The court in its three-page written judgment comprising five petitions of accused Zakir Jaffer, Ismat Adamjee, Therapy Works chief Tahir Zahoor and Wamiq Riaz said that according to the records, the prosecution had provided the relevant documents to the accused on September 23. Then the date of October 6 was fixed for framing the charge sheet. However, on October 6, the accused filed petitions instead of facing the charge.

“There is no doubt that the lawyers of the accused raised the issue of lack of documents before the trial court after the order was issued,” the judgement said adding that “under 265C, the accused have the right to be provided with the documents related to the case challan, including the first information report, police report, statements of all witnesses before the investigating officer and copies of statements before the magistrate, a copy of the report prepared during the visit to the scene.”

The court observed that under normal circumstances, the defence counsel have the record before the challan was submitted. In this case also, when the bail applications were heard long before the challan was filed, a lawyer of the accused had a report which was discussed during the hearing.

Read more Zahir Jaffer's parents move SC for bail

The court said that in order to resolve the dispute over the non-availability of documents, the lawyers of the parties were asked to sit together in the court (only on October 6) and then they sat together. All relevant documents were shared with the lawyers of the accused by the prosecution, it said.

Similarly, the defence counsel received all documents on October 6. “Accused Zahir Jaffer was also given documents in the open court. Thus, the issue of providing documents was resolved on October 6,” the judgement said.

The court said that Ismat Adamjee in her application has sought four weeks for making lawyers, which was not justified. However, a reasonable time has been given till October 14 so that no further objections could be raised.

The trial court has fixed October 14 for the indictment of 12 accused, including the prime suspect Zahir Jaffer.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2021.

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