Australia’s request for extradition of hit-run driver Puneet, who fled Australia after admitting to killing 19-year-old Queensland nursing student, Dean Hofstee and injuring Clancy Coker, in Southbank in October 2008, has again been adjourned to March 18.
Puneet has used almost every excuse under the sun and is now re-using some of those used again and again. The excuse this time was that his lawyer was not available. In the legal terminology, the adjournment was sought on behalf of the fugitive criminal because his learned defence counsel was not available.
Puneet has used – racism card a number of time, He has also challenged the very petition filed on behalf of Australia on the basis that the extradition arrangements between the two councties were signed off on in 2011, which was after the accident which killed Dean Hofstee and injured his friend Clancy Coker in October 2008.
His lawyers also challenged the application on technical grounds that Puneet was not ‘convicted’ and only charged to appear for plea bargaining (on 20 August 2009). Altho9ugh it tooki quite some time to settle the issue and defeat his challenge but that was overcome back in 2017.
Soon followed the medical condition drama he enacted quite well over a few hearings and bought himself a good amount of time.
Fortunately for the Hofstee family, the judge at the time Ms Gurmohina Kaur was in charge of the case and she quite judiciously and adeptly dealt with the obstacles.
After Ms Kaur was transferred, there has been a flurry of new judges and case has been thrown in a vicious circle of legal loop where, it has now been in the “Final Arguments” stage for many times since April 2018. Now for the third time, the court has been hearing the “Final Arguments” since November 9, 2020 and will for the 9th court appearance hear the continuation of the “final argument” stage.
In the context of natural justice, an age old adage goes – ‘justice delayed is justice denied’. Looking at the proceeding of Puneet’s extradition, it feels – the jurisprudence read by officials and lawyers while training for their respective jobs did not have that maxim explained to them.
In the past, this case has been adjourned on application of Puneet claiming his lawyer was unwell, only this time he was unavailable. One would wonder – if the matter will reach its conclusion on March 18.
Only time will tell.