KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday set aside life imprisonment handed down by a trial court to a convict in a drug peddling case.
A division bench of SHC observed that two main witnesses had contradicted each other on material aspects and there were also a number of legal infirmities/lacunae which had created serious doubt in the prosecution case.
An additional district sessions/model criminal trial court of Malir had sentenced Mohammad Shafi to life in prison in August last year for transporting around 31 kilograms of hashish in his rickshaw along Superhighway in December 2020.
The convict through his counsel challenged the conviction before the SHC and after hearing both sides and examining the record and proceedings, the two-judge bench comprising Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha and Justice Zulfiqar Ali Sangi allowed the appeal and overturned the order of the trial court.
The bench in its judgement noted that the contradictions in the statements of two police officers and main prosecution witnesses of the case, had clearly indicated that they were not the true eyewitnesses of the incident and no such incident of arrest of accused and recovery of hashish from the possession of the appellant had occurred as had been alleged by the prosecution.
It further said that mere heinousness of the charge and recovery of a huge quantity of the alleged contraband was no ground to convict the accused as the prosecution was under the burden of responsibility to drive home the charges.
The case property was sent to the chemical analyser by Inspector Manzoor Ali through a letter, which has no date, after collecting the same from police station while neither any Malkhana entry had been produced, nor had the head of Malkhana been examined in terms of safe custody of case property, it added.
The judgment further said: “In other words the prosecution has not proved the safe transmission of the property to the chemical examiner which creates serious doubt in its case”.
It observed that the prosecution had failed to prove the case against the appellant beyond a reasonable doubt and thus, the appeal was allowed and the appellant was acquitted from the charges by extending him the benefit of the doubt.
Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2022