Richard de Wit decides to represent himself.

This Media Release relates to hearing number 89 in the above trial which took place earlier today in the District Court, Srinagar.

At the last hearing on February 16th, the accused requested access to court papers which he has now read, although we understand he is not altogether happy with the content.  The pictures provided with the last media release clearly show him clutching those papers as he was returning under police escort to jail from the court.

At today’s hearing, he submitted a written letter to confirm that he doesn’t need a lawyer and that he wishes to defend himself. The court had offered to appoint a lawyer for him but he refused.

Also, as stated in the last media release, the judge refused to call witnesses until some form of legal representation was in place.  As expected, no witnesses were present today. 

However, as the result of Richard de Wit’s decision to represent himself, two Prosecution Witnesses have been summoned to appear in court at the next hearing, which is set for Thursday March 16th 2017.  They are PW26 S.I. Kuldeep Koul and PW27 S.I. Bashir Ahmad.  Both are police officers who attended the scene of crime. 

Mr Bashir was the last witness to take the stand on 29th September 2015, i.e. seventeen months ago. At that time, his evidence was examined but not cross-examined. This will represent Richard de Wit’s first opportunity to defend himself when he cross-examines S. I. Bashir Ahmad.

Authenticity: The source of the above material is predominantly the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in London following contact from the British High Commission in Delhi with additional information from the Public Prosecutor, Mr Syed Ahmad Maqbool.  Further information is being sought about today’s hearing and a further media release will be sent out as and when anything significant is learned.