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SHC sets aside life term in security guard’s murder case

SHC sets aside life term in security guard’s murder case

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has overturned the life imprisonment handed down to an appellant by a trial court in a murder case.

A sessions court had sentenced Haris Shakeel alias Haris Sohail to 25 years in prison in July 2019 for killing security guard Mohammad Khan during a robbery bid at a filling station in North Nazimabad in April 2017.

The convict filed an appeal before the SHC against his conviction and after hearing both sides and examining the record and proceedings of the case, a single-judge bench headed by Justice Omar Sial allowed the appeal and exonerated the appellant.

The bench in its order observed that it would not be safe to rely solely on the identification parade in order to convict the appellant as there was no other evidence which was brought on record to otherwise corroborate the prosecution’s case.

It further noted that during the identification parade both witnesses, a cashier and a manager of the filling station, said that the incident had occurred on April 4, which was incorrect.

“Any value which the identification parade may have had for the prosecution was completely demolished when the record reflects that on 09.05.2017 i.e. six days before the parade, the appellant was taken by the police to the same CNG station where the two witnesses were employed, in the company of the complainant, ostensibly for the purpose of pointing out the place of incident”, it added.

The bench also noted that the memo of the identification parade also did not contain sufficient details of the prosecution taken by the magistrate to ensure that the witnesses did not see the accused prior to the parade.

It said that as per the prosecution, the appellant was arrested in an arms case on May 9, 2017 and immediately after the arrest he had confessed to the police that he had been involved in the murder the very same day.

The identification parade should have been held immediately thereafter, however for reasons best known to the prosecution, the investigating officer did not do so and waited another six days before making an application to hold the parade, it added.

The prosecution said that the appellant along with his absconding accomplices had gunned down a security guard on the night of April 2 as he resisted the attempted robbery at the CNG station and the accused persons also took away the pistol of the victim.

A case was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder) 392 (punishment for robbery) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of the filling station’s owner at the Taimuria police station.

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2023

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