ABU DHABI // An Appeals Court judge yesterday lectured lawyers on taking cases assigned to them by the court more seriously – after one of them failed to attend the hearing of a man sentenced to death.
Two lawyers failed to attend hearings yesterday, in each case sending a colleague with a request for an adjournment.
This prompted the head of the court, Dr Khairi Al Kabbash, to warn that such requests were becoming too frequent and cases assigned by the court were as important as more lucrative, private cases.
By law, all defendants facing sentences of death or life imprisonment must be appointed a lawyer by the court.
Referring to the case of a Pakistani found at Abu Dhabi International Airport with 101 capsules of heroin and sentenced to death, Dr Al Kabbash noted the man’s defence had been compromised in previous hearings.
“The Court of Cassation bounced this case back to us because the defence was not serious the first time,” he said.
“When a lawyer is appointed and he does not have time for the case, he should apologise and not take it.
“I know appointed cases do not pay off like your regular fees but this is the capacity of the department.”
The lawyer’s representative said he was merely in court on behalf of the appointed lawyers and was not personally responsible for their non-attendance.
“I know that but I need you to deliver this message to the lawyer: this case was already bounced back because of a lack of serious defence,” replied Dr Al Kabbash.
He then adjourned the case to January 30.
A second case involving drugs also had to be adjourned because the court-appointed lawyer did not attend.
M I, from Bangladesh, is appealing against his 10-year jail sentence and Dh50,000 fine for smuggling marijuana into the country.
His case was adjourned to January 31.