Case Summary: Abdul Hakeem v. The State - Appeal No. 835 of 2022

CRIMINAL LAWLITIGATION

teal and white abstract painting
teal and white abstract painting

In the case of Abdul Hakeem v. The State, heard by the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi Bench, Abdul Hakeem (appellant) was convicted under Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for the murder of Younas Umar. Initially sentenced to death by the Additional Sessions Judge, Attock, on June 30, 2022, Hakeem appealed the decision (Criminal Appeal No. 835 of 2022), and the trial court's judgment was reviewed.

Key Facts:

Incident Details: On May 3, 2021, Muhammad Furqan Umar, the deceased's son, discovered his father's body. The deceased was found with his hands bound and a drawstring around his neck.

Investigation: The police collected various forensic samples from the crime scene, including nail and buccal swabs, and recovered a DVR from a neighboring house with CCTV footage showing Hakeem entering and exiting the victim's house.

Prosecution Evidence: The prosecution relied on circumstantial evidence, including CCTV footage, DNA analysis, and the recovery of stolen items linked to the appellant.

Legal Analysis:

CCTV Footage: The footage was deemed inconclusive as the visuals did not definitively identify Hakeem as the perpetrator. The forensic facial comparison analysis by PFSA could not conclusively match Hakeem to the suspect in the footage.

DNA Evidence: While DNA swabs taken from the victim's nails matched Hakeem's DNA, the court found significant procedural flaws in the handling and custody of forensic samples, questioning the reliability of the DNA evidence.

Recovery of Stolen Items: The prosecution presented items recovered from Hakeem that were allegedly stolen from the deceased. However, these items were not mentioned in the initial FIR, and their recovery lacked independent verification.

Prosecution's Shortcomings: The court highlighted multiple gaps in the prosecution's case, including the failure to summon key witnesses, lack of direct evidence, and procedural mishandling of forensic evidence.

Conclusion: The court, upon reviewing the evidence, found that the prosecution failed to establish an unbroken chain of incriminating circumstances against Abdul Hakeem. The benefit of doubt was given to the appellant, leading to his acquittal. The death sentence was not confirmed, and Hakeem was ordered to be released if not required in any other case.

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