Saturday, July 10, 2010

Witness in criminal case can't be recalled with change of lawyer: HC

Witness in criminal case can't be recalled with change of lawyer: Delhi HC

The Delhi High Court has said a witness in a criminal case cannot be recalled for cross examination in case the accused engaged a new lawyer for argument in his case and dismissed a petition filed by a man. "Once a witness has been cross examined, the witness cannot be recalled for further cross examination because the subsequent counsel, engaged by the accused , has the hunch that some more could have been extracted from the witness and that some questions were left out by the previous counsel," said Justice Shiv Narayan Dhingra in a recent judgement.

"A fair trial means fair to the accused, fair to the society and fair to the witnesses. If the rights of the accused are to be protected by the criminal justice system, the rights of the victim and witnesses are not to be ignored and rejected by this court....," the court said.

"....Accused has a liberty to change his counsel according to his pocket and if his pocket allows, he may change his counsel 10 times and every new counsel would be more competent than the previous counsel. If this goes on, no trial can come to an end.

The Court said "this power has not been given to the court to be used as a tool by the accused for recalling a witness on change of every new counsel" and dismissed a plea filed by one Mukeem, whose application for recalling of a woman witness in the case, was  dismissed by the trial court on May 7.

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