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75-year-old man handed down life imprisonment for possessing drugs

By Our Correspondent
June 04, 2023

A model court has handed down rigorous imprisonment for life to a 75-year-old man in a case pertaining to possession of drugs.Wazeer Khan was found guilty of possessing around 25 kilogrammes of hashish.

Additional District and Sessions Judge Abdul Zahoor Chandio of the Model Criminal Trial Court (East) also ordered the convict to pay a fine of Rs100,000. In case of failure to pay the fine, he would have to undergo an additional six-month imprisonment. The judge said the accused was also entitled to the benefit of the Section 382-B (the period they spent in detention will be deducted from the sentence) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).

The case against his absconding accomplice, Gulbadeen, alias Hamza, alias Dilawar, was kept on dormant file until his arrest.

The judge observed that in the narcotic cases, one of the most crucial aspects was that the prosecution must prove the safe custody of a narcotic substance from its recovery until the time it was sent for chemical examination.

If the prosecution failed to do, there was a possibility that the recovered drug were tampered with before it was received by a chemical laboratory for examination, the judge remarked.

“It is settled law that in such cases where unbroken chain of safe custody cannot be proved by the prosecution then the chemical report is of no legal value but in present case, no such situation has been observed,” the judge pointed out, adding that, “the transmission of case property from place of recovery to police station and from police station to chemical examiner is well established by the prosecution with evidence and the defense has failed to shatter the evidence of prosecution witnesses in that respect.”

According to the prosecution, the police intercepted two motorcycle riders in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on May 24, 2021. One of them managed to flee the scene while the other, Khan, was taken into custody. During the search, a bag containing 24.5kg hashish was recovered from his possession.

State prosecutor Muhammad Ashraf Bhatti contended that a huge quantity of hashish was recovered from the accused, which could not have been foisted upon him. He said all the witnesses fully supported the prosecution case as they remained firm on all its material aspects and no material contradiction had come on record. He pleaded with the judge to award maximum punishment to the accused provided under the law.

On the other hand, the defence counsel argued that the accused was around 75 years old and confined to a wheelchair. He said the accused was said to be arrested from a populated area but the investigation officer failed to produce any private witness of the alleged recovery of the drugs. Besides, he added, there were a number of "discrepancies, anomalies and contradictions in testimonies of prosecution witnesses”. He requested the court to acquit the accused.

An FIR was lodged under the Section 6/9-C of the Control of Narcotic Substances Act by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) Karachi.