An Indian judge on Friday decided against dismissing the lawyer of the only surviving Pakistani gunman in last year's Mumbai terror attacks, avoiding possible lengthy delays in his trial.
Judge M.L. Tahiliyani said he accepted an apology from defense lawyer Abbas Kazmi after a minor courtroom squabble and hoped the decision would help bring the trial to a swift conclusion.
Finding a replacement for Kazmi could have led to months of delays. He was appointed by the court to defend Mohammed Ajmal Kasab after several other lawyers refused to represent him.
Kasab is on trial with two Indian co-defendants accused of helping plot the attacks on Mumbai, India's financial hub. They have been charged with 12 criminal counts, including murder and waging war against India. If convicted, all three could face the death penalty.
Thursday's dispute arose after Kazmi accused the prosecutor of improperly handing him copies of witnesses' statements without submitting them to the court first. The judge stated that the court had already been informed in Kazmi's presence of the decision to submit the statements and accused the defense attorney of lying.
Thursday was the first anniversary of the attacks, which began on November 26th and lasted three days, killing 166 people.