KARACHI: The life imprisonment awarded to a man in the case of a seven-year-old's rape and murder was set aside on Thursday by the Sindh High Court (SHC) for want of medical and forensic evidence.
A two-judge bench also ordered the prison authorities to release the appellant forthwith if his custody was not required in any other case.
The appellant, Asghar, had approached the high court against the conviction and sentence awarded to him by a Thatta district and sessions judge.
The prosecution alleged that the appellant had sexually abused the minor girl and then murdered her. A case under the charges of rape and murder was registered against him.
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The defence lawyer argued that the appellant had no role in the commission of the alleged offences as the prosecution's story lacked evidence to establish his connection to the incident. The defence lawyer pleaded to the court to set aside the conviction and sentences awarded to Asghar by the trial court, pointing out that crucial medical evidence, such a DNA test, was not collected during the trial.
The prosecutor, Muntazir Mehdi, argued before the bench that the appellant had confessed to his crime before the judicial magistrate. He added that prosecution witnesses of the incident were also available and they had testified against Asghar.
The prosecutor insisted that the evidence available on record duly connected his role with the commission of the alleged offence. However, he argued that the facility of conducting DNA test of the victim was not available at the time the minor was raped.
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Mehdi argued that the acquittal of the man involved in serious offences of rape and murder of a minor would encourage the others to do the same. "Cases of sexual abuse are increasing unabated due to acquittal of the accused persons," the prosecutor argued, pleading to the court to dismiss Asghar's appeal against his conviction.
The SHC, however, rejected the prosecutor's arguments and set aside Asghar's conviction.
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