Criminal defence advocates, defending the accused persons who have been considered by the people to be guilty in heinous crimes, are at the receiving end many a time. The public at large, a section of lawyers and even some Bar Councils have a view that the defendants suspecting to be guilty does not deserve to have the service of a defence lawyer at all. Both in Kasab’s case and in Nirbhaya case the advocate’s body took a resolution not to defend the accused ones. In fact the proponents of this view, guided by some misconceptions about judicial niceties, fail to recognise that the court is dealing with nothing but the legal guilt rather than the factual guilt in a trial.
In our adversarial system of criminal prosecution a defendant – irrespective of the nature of his/her crime – needs to be represented by an advocate.
A case must have arguments from both sides so that the judge can see the issue from both angles. Such a system may work well only when both sides are represented. Therefore every criminal, however heinous his crime is, needs to be defended by a professional lawyer to ensure the high standard of proof – beyond a reasonable doubt – which our criminal system has set in.