High Court Sets Aside Murder Conviction Of Man Unrepresented By Lawyer

A bench headed by Justice Mukta Gupta said that there was a "grave miscarriage of justice" as the accused, who was charged with the murder of his wife by strangulation, was not represented

High Court Sets Aside Murder Conviction Of Man Unrepresented By Lawyer

Following the conviction in 2018, the trial court awarded the sentence of life imprisonment

New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction and jail term of life imprisonment in a murder case on account of a "serious denial of a fair trial" to the accused who was not represented by a lawyer during a "substantial" period of trial.

A bench headed by Justice Mukta Gupta said that there was a "grave miscarriage of justice" as the accused, who was charged with the murder of his wife by strangulation, was not represented when a number of witnesses were examined and a legal aid counsel was later asked to cross-examine the witnesses on the same day as his appointment.

Following the conviction in 2018, the trial court awarded the sentence of life imprisonment to the accused and also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000.

"The manner in which the trial is conducted, there was a serious denial of a fair trial to the appellant. The appellant is required to be given an opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses... The witnesses (were) examined in the absence of the lawyer, or the lawyer having been appointed on the same day from the legal aid and asked to cross-examine the witnesses," said the bench also comprising Justice Anish Dayal in an order passed earlier this month.

"In the light of the facts noted above, this Court is of the considered opinion that there has been a grave miscarriage of justice to the appellant... Consequentially, the impugned judgement of conviction and order on sentence are set aside," it ordered.

Remanding the matter to the trial court for cross-examination of certain witnesses and the consequent proceedings, the court requested the trial court to expedite the trial and conclude the same preferably within four months.

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