MARDAN: A child protection court here on Tuesday convicted a juvenile offender of sexually assaulting and killing a minor girl around four years ago and awarded him life imprisonment and Rs140,000 fine.

Judge Ijaz Ahmad ruled that the convict was a juvenile person and therefore, capital punishment couldn’t be handed down to him in line with the Juvenile Justice System Act, 2018.

In a 40-page detailed judgment in the case,the judge declared that it was clear from the case of the prosecution without reasonable doubt that the victim was subjected first to sexual assault and then to death through asphyxia.

Her body was found in a field near her house. The juvenile person had assaulted and killed the girl on Jan 14, 2018, and was arrested by the police around three weeks later after DNA testing confirmed his involvement in the crime.

Mardan child court rules capital penalty not awarded due to Juvenile Justice System Act

He was convicted by an anti-terrorism court on July 9, 2018 and was sentenced to life imprisonment.

However, the Peshawar High Court set aside that judgment on Nov 7, 2019, declaring that the ATC didn’t have jurisdiction to take cognisance of the offence and carry out its trial.

The high court had remanded the case to the Mardan juvenile court asking it to determine the ‘maturity level’ of the accused and conduct the trial.

The accused was tried for multiple offences under Pakistan Penal Code’s sections 302 (intentional murder), 363 (kidnapping a child from lawful guardianship), 364-A (abducting person for killing or putting him in danger of death) 376 (rape) and the KP Child Protection and Welfare Act’s sections 53 (sexual abuse) and 37 (violence against a child).

He was found guilty on all counts and sentenced to seven years rigorous imprisonment along with a fine of Rs10,000 under Section 363 of PPC, 14 years imprisonment under Section 364-A of PPC, 25 years rigorous imprisonment along with Rs20,000 fine under Section 376 of PPC, life sentence under Section 302 of PPC along with payment of compensation of Rs100,000 to legal heirs of the deceased, three years imprisonment under Section 37 of KPCPWA, and 14 years rigorous imprisonment under Section 53 of KPCPWA.

“All sentences should run concurrently,” the court declared.

It ruled that the accused was capable of knowing the nature of the act [sexual assault and murder] and knew that the act was wrong or forbidden by the law.

Published in Dawn, January 26th, 2022

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