The Sindh High Court (SHC) has recently set aside life imprisonment of a man in his wife’s murder case observing that the prosecution failed to prove charges on him.
Qadir Dad Solangi was sentenced to life imprisonment by an additional district and sessions judge East for murdering his wife on May 19, 2019. According to the prosecution, the appellant killed his wife for ‘honour’.
During the pendency of the appeal, the seven legal heirs of the deceased, who was their mother, forgave the appellant, who was their father, in the name of God and waived their right to Diyat.
A single bench of the SHC headed by Justice Omar Sial observed that the beneficiaries of the Diyat amount themselves wanted to waive their right to Diyat as they said that their father would never be in a position to pay the Diyat and if he was not released, all his 11 children, who are young and in extreme financial distress, would find it difficult to survive.
The high court observed that the dilemma of the legal heirs could be understood but the compromise could not be accepted because of well-settled law principles.
Taking up the appeal on merit, the SHC observed that the record revealed that there was no evidence against the appellant. The high court observed that no eyewitnesses came forward to testify, nor did any member of the deceased’s family record a statement, hold the appellant guilty or testify at the trial.
The bench observed that the complainant, Zafar Ali, testified at the trial that he was told by his brother Sahib Dad that the appellant had killed his mother; however, for no explainable reason, Sahib Dad did not record a statement to the police and nor did he testify at the trial.
The SHC observed that the complainant’s evidence against the appellant was based on hearsay and thus not admissible as evidence. The bench observed that the investigation officer (IO) had acknowledged at the trial that he had not recorded the statement of any other person from the house or the neighbourhood. The SHC observed that the IO tried to give the case the angle of honour killing in the trial court but acknowledged that when he had concluded his investigation and filed the final ,report he had not stated this aspect in his report.
The high court observed that the IO did not investigate any details of the alleged affair or the identity of the alleged lover of the woman.
The bench observed that whether the murder took place in the house of the appellant was also not conclusively established as the police first saw the body at a hospital and no blood stains were found at the place where the murder allegedly occurred, though the IO justified that at the trial by saying that the floor had been cleaned.
The SHC observed that the IO also admitted that neither had he seen where the body lay nor did he take any photos.
The high court observed that there were contradictions in the statement of the IO with regard to the recovery of bullet casing. The bench observed that the IO did not investigate the murder on the lead of the complainant who admitted in his testimony that their family had to move from Balochistan to Sindh because of hostility they had with a man, Gul Mohammad.
The bench observed that the place of the recovery of the pistol was doubtful and the fact that the pistol was in a non-working order yet being alleged by the prosecution as being the crime weapon created doubts about the integrity of the prosecution case.
The SHC observed that the prosecution had failed to establish its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt in both the charge of murder and possession of an unlicensed weapon.
The bench observed that the benefit of the doubt should have gone to the appellant and ordered his release, if not required in other cases.
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