Question: What is the provision for supplying copies of the Police Report and other documents to the accused? Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [What is the provision for supplying copies of the Police Report and other documents to the accused?] Answer Sections 207 to 208 provide for the supply to the accused person of copies of… Read More »

Question: What is the provision for supplying copies of the Police Report and other documents to the accused? Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [What is the provision for supplying copies of the Police Report and other documents to the accused?] Answer Sections 207 to 208 provide for the supply to the accused person of copies of documents like the police report, statements recorded by the police during investigation etc., so that the accused is enabled to know adequately and in time...

Question: What is the provision for supplying copies of the Police Report and other documents to the accused?

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [What is the provision for supplying copies of the Police Report and other documents to the accused?]

Answer

Sections 207 to 208 provide for the supply to the accused person of copies of documents like the police report, statements recorded by the police during investigation etc., so that the accused is enabled to know adequately and in time the alleged charges against him and the evidence the prosecution intends to give against him at his trial.

The right conferred on the accused is confined to the documents enlisted in the section and does not extend to other documents. From the language of Section 207, it appears that the right to have copies of statements recorded by the police is only in respect of statements recorded in the same case, and not in respect of statements recorded in any other case.

If the copies of statements, etc. are not supplied to the accused person as required by Section 207, it is undoubtedly a serious irregularity; however, this irregularity in itself will not vitiate the trial. It will have to be seen whether the omission to supply copies has in fact occasioned prejudice against the accused person in his defence.

For that purpose, the appellate court must scrutinize the police record for itself, and if it finds that there are discrepancies between the police statements and the depositions of the witnesses at the trial and that these discrepancies are of a serious nature, prejudice must be held to have been established, because in such a case the accused person has been denied the opportunity of discrediting those witnesses by bringing on record the contradictions which exist between their evidence in court and their earlier statements recorded by the police.

In such a case conviction of the accused person must be set aside, and a fair retrial after furnishing to the accused all the copies to which he is entitled must be ordered.

Section 207 can be divided into two separate categories:

(a) Where the proceeding is instituted on a police report

where a police officer investigating the case finds it convenient to do so, he may furnish to the accused copies of all or any of the documents referred to in Section 173(5). According to Section 207, the Magistrate is under an imperative duty to furnish to the accused, free of cost, copies of statements made to the police and other documents to be relied upon by the prosecution.

(b) Where the proceeding, in respect of an offence exclusively triable by the Court of Session, is instituted otherwise than on a police report

In cases where cognizance of the offence has been taken otherwise than on a police report, the case is not ordinarily investigated by the police and naturally, there are no statements recorded by the police. Therefore, the valuable right given to the accused by Section 207 regarding the supply of copies would not be available in such cases. In the absence of any preliminary inquiry preceding trial, and when no police record is available to the accused person before his trial, it might cause considerable hardship to the accused to prepare himself for his defence, particularly when the offence alleged is a serious one exclusively triable by the Court of Session.

Section 208 tries to remove this hardship and enables the accused to know the case made against him and to prepare for his defence.

Section 208 deals with the Supply of copies of statements and documents to the accused in other cases triable by the Court of Session. It states “Where, in a case instituted otherwise than on a police report, it appears to the Magistrate issuing process under section 204 that the offence is triable exclusively by the Court of Session, the Magistrate shall without delay furnish to the accused, free of cost, a copy of each of the following:-

  • the statements recorded under section 200 or section 202, of all persons examined by the Magistrate;
  • the statements and confessions, if any, recorded under section 161 or section 164;
  • any documents produced before the Magistrate on which the prosecution proposes to rely: Provided that if the Magistrate is satisfied that any such document is voluminous, he shall, instead of furnishing the accused with a copy thereof, direct that he will only be allowed to inspect it either personally or through pleader in Court.

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Updated On 2022-05-25T08:03:51+05:30
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