Innocent on Death Row Acquitted after serving 9 years behind the bars
The society remains largely divided on the issue of executing prisoners on death row. However, there is unanimity on the point that no one shall be awarded death sentence on the basis of an unfair trial and weak investigation. Recently, in a judgment dated 10.11.2015, Mr. Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmad of the Honorable Lahore High Court while presiding over the bench hearing the Murder Reference no. 280 of 2011 titled State v Muhammad Boota and 6 others, acquitted all the accused who had been behind bars for almost a decade. Barrister Haris Azmat assisted by Muhammad Bilal Ramzan and Ali Khalid Sandhu while representing Sarfraz Ahamd, one of the co-accused, argued before the Honorable Bench that the accused had been meted out an unjust sentence by the Court of Sessions while he was only attributed the role of firing a shot at the left arm of the Deceased. He vehemently contested that ‘arm’ not being a pivotal part of the body could not have caused death of the accused and further brought to the notice of the Court that the post mortem report of the Deceased does not show any signs of injury on the left arm. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the death of the Deceased was recorded at 12 30 p.m. whereas the FIR had been lodged at 10 30 a.m. It is pertinent to note that Sarfraz has served 9 years in the prison for an act that he never committed. While talking to Courting The Law, Barrister Haris opined that the state needs urgent and comprehensive reforms in the Criminal Justice System in order to avoid instances where the innocent spends a good part of their lives in jail and are deprived of an opportunity to serve the society.