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Why should advocates stand for murderers and rapists?

Published : Monday, 29 May, 2023 at 12:00 AM  Count : 941
Noman Alam

When a lawyer defends a client accused of murder and rape, a particular sort of sensitive individual becomes highly agitated. I appreciate people's zeal for this attitude toward appropriate professional obligations of a professional. However, this behavior is neither legal nor moral.

Putting aside the legal debate, let's consider a basic scenario. Suppose that the accused is not permitted to speak at the arbitration meeting. Isn't it unfair? A lawyer's responsibility is to discuss the client's remarks. Lawyers never provide unlawful advice. No possibility of doing so. He expresses the client's desires. A lawyer transcribes the client's words the same way a scribe transcribes the author's.
Suppose you are falsely charged with rape. Only you are aware that it is untrue. However, everyone knows you are a rapist. Would it be unjust if a lawyer provided you with legal assistance now? You killed someone in self-defence to protect your life and property (Section 100 of The Penal Code,1860). Everyone knows that you are a killer. However, you are compelled to. The law affords you the chance to defend yourself. Yet, others would sooner oppress you than give you a voice.

In a recent rape case, local lawyers have declared that they would not represent the accused. Even before this, in several sensational cases, the local bars had proclaimed that no lawyer would defend a particular accused.

There is a great deal of praise and ephemeral admiration during these activities. Nonetheless, the advocate adrift in such a torrent indicates the gravest injustice. Why should lawyers engage in this pursuit of popularity when the general populace may embrace these views incorrectly? You have always defended cases of this nature. Today, these actions are all designed to get your name in the news. What could be worse than intentional wrongdoing?

Article 33(1) of the Constitution of Bangladesh states: "No person arrested shall be kept in custody without being informed of the reason for the arrest as soon as possible, and the said person shall not be deprived of the right to be consulted by a lawyer of his choice and to be defended by him."

Apart from this, section 340 of The Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 also says about the right of the accused to appoint a lawyer. Not only that, if the accused cannot appoint a lawyer for any reason, the state also arranges a lawyer for the accused, which is called "State Defence."

A famous principle of law is "Let thousands of guilty go unpunished, but not a single innocent be punished." If the accused does not have a lawyer, it cannot be determined whether the accused is innocent or not. According to the 'presumption of innocence, the accused is innocent until proven guilty in a final judicial process.

One of the theories of natural justice is "Audi Alteram Partem" in English, "No man must be condemned unheard."  In other words, the law can give no sentence without hearing the party.

The law gives the accused certain protections. The lawyer will assert that right, with no exceptions. Suppose you have engaged in stealing but have been convicted of robbery. The lawyer will not let this injustice occur. Or suppose you slapped someone, and they accused you of causing grievous hurt. Lawyers will not allow this to happen.

A lawyer represents the accused and helps the court deliver justice. Since the court will declare the verdict, it is the job of the courts to deliver justice. You, I and the media cannot offer it. Consequently, no one will be released if the lawyer stands. The court will uphold the law. It is the court's responsibility. Others can merely assist.

Refusing to allow a lawyer to take a stand is a form of obstruction of justice.

If we read Section 12 of the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order and Rules, 1972, the gist of my discussion can be seen nicely.

 "No fear of judicial disfavor or public unpopularity should restrain him from the full discouragement of his (lawyer) duty."

It is unfortunate when learned bar associations seek popularity and when law students publicize their decision to refrain from becoming lawyers for the cheap feeling of "likes" and "comments." While happily advocating the unfairness of this filmic sentiment of not standing up to lawyers, law students must enlighten the general public about these nuances in establishing justice.

The writer is an Apprentice Lawyer of Chittagong District and Sessions Judge Court

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