By Ishaq Tanoli
KARACHI: A sessions court sentenced a man to 10 years in prison on Wednesday for sexually assaulting his 13-year-old stepdaughter.
The court found the man, Zafar, guilty of raping his stepdaughter in Dec 2007 in the Gulistan-i-Jauhar area.
Additional District and Sessions Judge (east) Sanaullah Khan Ghory pronounced his verdict after recording testimonies of witnesses and final arguments from both sides.
The court also extended the benefit of Section 382-B (period of detention to be considered while awarding sentence of imprisonment) of the criminal procedure code to the convict.
The court in its verdict observed that after scrutinising the available evidence that came on record, it concluded that the accused, stepfather of the victim, had committed the rape and in her testimony the victim had testified against her stepfather and also narrated the same facts which she had given in her statement recorded under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code before a judicial magistrate.
It further stated that the victim’s statement was fully supported by the complainant (her mother) and the same was also corroborated by the medical evidence. In such circumstances the plea of the accused that he was falsely implicated in the case could not be sustained, it added.
Citing the contention of the accused that there was no evidence available on record to substantiate the case against him apart from the depositions of the victim and the complainant, the court observed that the disputation of the accused was repelled since solitary evidence of the victim, which was fully supported by the complainant, would be sufficient and inspired confidence.
“Even otherwise, it is not about number of witnesses, but quality and credibility of evidence is to be considered. In cases of Zina there was hardly any witness other than victim herself as it is very rare that such offence took place in view of others or at public places,” it added.
The accused in his statement failed to give any plausible reason as to why the witnesses had deposed against him and the mere statement that there was a quarrel between him and the complainant, who was his wife, could not save him, it said.
The victim had no motive to implicate her stepfather, and while she was subjected to a lengthy cross-examination, the defence failed to dent the prosecution case, it said.
The verdict concluded that that after assessment of the evidence that came on record, the court was of the firm view that the prosecution had succeeded in proving the guilt of the accused.
According to the prosecution, the accused was residing in a hut along with his wife and stepchildren within the remit of the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station and on the night of Dec 27, 2007 the accused had subjected his teenaged stepdaughter to a sexual assault and warned her not to disclose it.
However, the victim informed one of her relatives about the incident and her mother lodged an FIR against her husband. The police arrested the accused on Jan 14, 2008.
In his final arguments, the counsel for the accused vehemently contended that the accused was innocent and framed in the case as he had a quarrel with the complainant.
He further argued that the prosecution had not examined any independent witness and failed to prove its case beyond a shadow of a doubt. He prayed to the court to acquit his client.
However, the public prosecutor, Younus Baloch, contended that the victim and the complainant had fully implicated the accused in the case and the same was corroborated by the medical evidence.
A case (FIR 31/2008) was registered against the accused under Section 376 (punishment for rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the Gulistan-i-Jauhar police station.
The accused was produced in court in custody and was remanded back to the prison along with his conviction warrants to serve out the remainder of his sentence.