4 Nov 2022
By Rehan Piracha
Expressing surprise at the leaking of confessional videos of the suspect linked to the assassination attempt on former prime minister Imran Khan, senior criminal lawyers have revealed that such confessional videos recorded under police custody are not admissible as evidence before a court.
A supporter of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf was killed and 14 others, including the PTI chief, were injured as shots were fired suddenly during the long march container. The incident took place at Wazirabad’s Allahwala Chowk.
A man identified as Naveed Ahmed was arrested along with a pistol from the spot. However, police have not yet registered a first information report of the incident.
PTI leaders have blamed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and Major General Faisal Naseer of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for the attack. They have also called for the replacement of the Punjab provincial police chief over the lapse in security of the PTI chief.
Meanwhile on Thursday evening, within hours of his arrest, confessional videos of the suspect were leaked on social media. The suspect was under the custody of a police station in Gujrat.
Speaking to Voicepk.net, Ihtesham Qadir Shah, a senior lawyer specializing in criminal cases, said confessional videos of a suspect recorded under police custody are inadmissible under the law of evidence in the country. He expressed alarm at how police investigators had allowed the video to leak despite it being a high-profile case.
“Such lapses of leaking evidence have choked the criminal justice system in Pakistan,” he said.
“There has been a chain of apex court judgments that state the opinion of the investigation officer is not binding on the court,” Ihtesham Qadir Shah said.
According to the law, police officials were tasked with collecting material evidence while the prosecution had the responsibility of analysis of the evidence, he added. “Only a court can decide if an accused is guilty of an offense or not,” he explained.
The senior lawyer said police investigators continued to write their final investigation reports by stating the accused as guilty contrary to court judgments and criminal law procedures.
According to Article 38 of Qanun-e-Shahadat, no confession made to a police officer could be proved against a person accused of any offense, Farhad Ali Shah, a senior criminal lawyer, told Voicepk.net.
He said a confessional video statement falls under Article 164 of Qanun-e-Shahadat which provides for courts to allow any evidence that may have become available because of modern devices and techniques.
However, the senior lawyer said that a confessional video statement could become admissible evidence if it leads to the discovery of new evidence or information in the case.
“If an accused reveals the name of his collaborators or reveals that he assassinated somebody on the orders of some person for money, then the confessional video can be admissible in court due to discovery of corroborative evidence,” he said.
Farhad Ali Shah said the leak of confessional videos of the suspect was the result of police’s failure to adhere to the basic code of conduct in investigations as well as negligence in the performance of their duty.
In the confessional videos, Naveed Ahmed claimed that he acted alone in the assassination attempt of the PTI chief.