Azeem Khan v Mujahid Khan (2016 SC MR 274)

The heinous nature of a crime does not affect a court’s right to appraise all evidence and to extend the accused the benefit of the doubt.

Tags: Heinous   Mitigating factor   Murder  

Two accused were sentenced to death under section PPC 365(A) and 302(b) and ATA 7(e) for kidnapping and brutally murdering a young child. The Lahore High Court upheld the sentence. In reviewing the case, the Supreme Court re-stated the principal that “mere heinous or gruesome nature of crime shall not detract the Court of law in any manner from the due course to judge and make the appraisal of evidence in a laid down manner and to extend the benefit of reasonable doubt to an accused person being indefeasible and inalienable right of an accused. In getting influence from the nature of the crime and other extraneous consideration might lead the Judges to a patently wrong conclusion. In that event the justice would be casualty.” Thus, even in the case of this very serious crime, the Court carefully considered all evidence and, finding the case to be based on insufficient circumstantial evidence, acquitted the accused.