Monday September 26, 2022

SHC sets aside death sentence of convict in child rape case

August 16, 2022

Due to the doubtful prosecution case, the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday set aside the conviction of a man who had been sentenced to death in a child rape case.

The appellant, Zainul Aabdin, was sentenced to death by an additional district and sessions judge for committing rape of a six-year-old girl in Saeeedabad on October 14, 2015. According to the prosecution, the girl’s father had accused the appellant, who was his neighbour, of raping his daughter on a vacant plot near his house.

The appellant’s counsel Mohammad Farooq submitted that there was delay in the registration of the FIR which gave the complainant chance to cook up a false case against Aabdin. He submitted that an eyewitness of the incident gave evidence without any explanation whereas the other purported eyewitness was found to be not a witness of the incident.

He contended that there was no DNA matching of the appellant with the victim and he may be acquitted from the charges giving him the benefit of the doubt. An additional prosecutor general supported the trial court order and requested the high court to dismiss the appeal.

A division bench of the SHC headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha after hearing the arguments of the counsel and perusal of evidence of the case observed that the prosecution had failed to ascertain the culprit who had raped the girl.

The bench observed that the statement of the victim was not recorded while the star witness was given up by the prosecution. The SHC observed that no eyewitness had identified the appellant as the rapist and nor the victim herself, who was quite capable of giving evidence, was even put to test in this regard by the trial court.

The high court observed that the medical officer who examined the victim had deposed that the victim had been subject to rape but without a DNA test, which was not carried out in the case, the identity of the rapist could not be found.

The bench observed that there was material contradictions in the evidence of the investigation officer who did not attend medical examination of the victim and the sample was obtained by a person with an illegible signature whose identity was unknown that also brought the chain of the safe custody of the victim’s sample into doubt.

The SHC observed that there was doubt in the prosecution case and acquitted the appellant by giving him the benefit of the doubt, setting aside the death sentence awarded to him by the trial court. The court ordered the release of the appellant if not required in other cases.