The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) highlighted that one of the basic adverse consequence arising out of delays in litigation was that many judges would preside over the same trial prior to its completion.
Director of Policy and Programmes at the AHRC and the Asian Legal Resource Centre, Basil Fernando said that it was worth noting that when the same case is heard by several judges, the judgment is written by the last judge, who on some occasions has not heard any of the evidence.
He added that one of the basic principles relating to assessing the credibility of witnesses and the weight of the evidence is thereby completely set aside.
“Besides the inability to view the demeanour of the witnesses, there are other problems which include the fact that the final judge, who writes the judgment, is not only unable to appreciate vital aspects of the trial but is also even on occasion mislead by some unscrupulous lawyers who in their submissions, give a version of the events which are not at all supported by the actual evidence led in Court,” he remarked. (RLJ)