No lawyer to cross-examine, court orders fresh trial in bootlegging case
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Observing that it was the duty of the trial court to provide legal assistance to an accused to ensure fair trial, a Sessions court has ordered a fresh trial of a man held guilty of bootlegging and sentenced to two years in prison by a trial court. There had been no lawyer present to cross-examine the evidence against him.
Trilok Singh had been caught by the police on April 28, 2004, along with six bottles of illicit liquor without any permit or licence and was sentenced to two years in jail in May 30 this year under the provisions of the Excise Act.
The prosecution had produced four witnesses who were not cross-examined since the lawyer of the accused was not present. Moving an appeal before the Sessions court, Singh's lawyer argued that there had been violation of the principles of natural justice and fair trial since the appellant was not provided legal-aid by the trial court and was unable to cross-examine the witnesses.
Accepting the plea of denial of fair trial, Additional Sessions judge Vikas Dhull set aside the order of conviction passed by the trial court.
The ASJ passed the judgment in response to an appeal by Trilok Singh.
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