Released by Vic Groves, Thursday 16th March 2017

Judge Refuses Richard de Wit Permission to Represent Himself

This Media Release relates to hearing number 90 in the above trial which took place earlier today in the District Court, Srinagar.

At the last hearing on March 1st, the accused submitted a letter to the court stating that he wanted to represent himself.  The court had offered to appoint a lawyer for him but he refused to accept third party involvement.

This presented the judge with the opportunity to unblock the logjam that has been in place since September 2015, since when no witnesses have been processed.  In anticipation of de Wit being able to represent himself three witnesses were summoned to today’s hearing and all three were in attendance.  They were two doctors and one police officer.

At today’s hearing, Richard de Wit was incapable of representing himself as planned and witnesses were not processed due, once again, to no alternative legal representation being in place.

As a result, the court dismissed his request to represent himself and the Public Prosecutor, Mr Syed Maqbool Ahmad made an application to the court to engage legal representation on his behalf.  The court immediately upheld the application.

Consequently, the Court has now appointed two lawyers – Mustaq Ahmed Jha and Mahira Bhatt – to act as defence counsel for Richard de Wit.

All three witnesses in attendance today will be cross examined by the newly appointed defence lawyers on Wednesday, 29th March 2017.

Pictures courtesy of Caters News Agency who must be acknowledged in any reproduction or re-use.