LAHORE - The prosecution case against serial killer Imran is supported prima facie by sufficient evidence to award him punishment under the law.

In legal experts’ opinion, the material collected so far, medical, circumstantial and physical evidence can help a lot to the court to reach final conclusion against the culprit who raped and killed eight innocent minor girls of Kasur to satisfy his lust. The horrible account of the latest rape-cum-murder case of seven-year-old Zainab had jolted not only the government, but also the whole society. The scope of the crime is expanding with material coming to the surface.

Currently, much hype is there about the DNA profiling of Imran, which the investigators say matches those of the victim girls.

Regarding the evidential value of the DNA test as final to hold Imran guilty, former judge of the Lahore High Court and senior criminal lawyer, Dr Khalid Ranjha, says under Section 510 of CrPC, medical evidence holds significance on papers, but a DNA test evidence is admissible in criminal justice system only when the doctor or the lab expert who conducted the DNA test personally appears before the trial to establish its veracity. On appearance, the doctors can be questioned about the test for the sake of judging the offence. He said confessional statement of the accused recorded before the magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC, CCTV footages and the circumstances corroborating the offence and witness accounts are sufficient material to prove the crime. However, he said, DNA report independently is not admissible in the light of a Supreme Court judgment unless established as true by the doctor before the court and the corroborative evidence.

Senior lawyer on criminal side and former Punjab governor, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, says DNA test is quite admissible evidence under Qanoon-e-Shahadat and Anti-Terrorism Act as they allow the use of modern device and technology to prove the case provided their findings hold connectivity with other material. However, he said, court and accused have the legal right to summon the doctor/expert who carries the DNA test, but that is optional and not mandatory.

Sardar Latif Khosa further said qualification of the DNA expert can also be questioned before the trial court to assess his eligibility to perform the job and quality of the DNA findings through him. In order to meet this requirement beforehand, reasons are assigned to let the court easily know how the DNA findings were drawn, he held.

In view of the other material reported and highlighted by the media about Imran’s foreign accounts and alleged involvement of some high-profile personalities running the racket of international pornography, Sardar Latif Khosa said if these allegations are established under the law, the others can be charged with abetment and liable to the same punishment. He, however, said others’ involvement can be established if the accused himself names them or strong evidence is furnished. He added since the offence of Imran is punishable with death penalty, he cannot be condemned unheard. The state will, therefore, provide him with a defence counsel, if he is not able to manage legal assistance in his private capacity, he added.

Senior advocate and former SCBA secretary Aftab Bajwa, on the strength of Section 164 of Qanoon-e-Shahadat and Section 510 of CrPC, argued a DNA test report becomes totally admissible evidence if the offence is supported by other incriminating material. In his view, when the corroborative evidence is available, appearance of the lab doctors for proving the DNA test becomes unnecessary. Bajwa said, besides CCTV footages of Zainab case, record of the fingerprint of the accused on the clothes of the victim girl will suffice to establish the case against Imran.

 

SAJID ZIA