1 Dec 2022
By Rehan Piracha
LAHORE: A gender-based violence (GBV) court has sentenced two convicts to death and has jailed a third convict to life imprisonment for the gang rape of a hearing and speech-impaired minor girl in Okara.
Nosha, Hanif and Aaris were accused of gang rape of the 15-year-old girl in a sugarcane field after kidnapping her from her house in Chak No 31/2L in Okara on November 5, 2021. The girl’s father, who initially lodged a complaint with Saddar Police on November 10, approached the local court to seek proper investigation into the gangrape case stating local police officials were conniving with the accused. The police had registered a first information report but discharged the accused after an incomplete medical examination declared that the girl was mentally challenged.
On the direction of the court, the accused were summoned to stand trial in the case. It proved to be a challenging case for the prosecution as the girl, her complainant’s father and the two accused Nosha and Hanif had hearing and speech impairment. Police hired the services of translators to record statements of the survivor, complainant and the two accused.
In his statement to the court, the father said the three accused had abducted his daughter after finding her alone in the house. The accused took her to the sugarcane field near the house and raped her in turns. He saw the accused committing the crime when he along with two other witnesses crossed the field. The accused fled the spot after threatening them with dire consequences, he added.
Police obtained DNA samples of accused Nosha and Hanif which according to the forensic report matched with that of the sample taken from the girl during a medical examination. The court expressed surprise that the police had not conducted a DNA test of the third accused Aaris in the gangrape case.
The counsels for the accused contended that the girl’s father had implicated them in the case because of Aaris’s father’s refusal to marry his son to his daughter. The counsel for Aaris argued that the girl had withdrawn charges against his client in a statement given to the magistrate. He claimed that the girl’s father had agreed to withdraw the case for Rs 200,000 along with four kanals of farmland.
Deputy District Prosecutor Faisal Zia contended that there was enough forensic and corroborative evidence to convict all accused in the case. The prosecution denied claims that the complainant had received any amount or land to withdraw the case. The court observed that the defence counsel had not cross-examined statements from the woman’s medical officer about whether rape with the girl had occurred or not.
The court noted that ‘the prosecution through its direct/ocular evidence, medical evidence and forensic DNA report, succeeded to prove the guilt of all three accused standing trial beyond the hilt’.
Additional Sessions Judge Shazadi Najaf sentenced to death Nosha and Hanif on two counts along with seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 each. The judge also ordered both accused to pay Rs 500,000 each to the victim. The judge sentenced Aaris to life imprisonment on two counts along with seven years imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000. Aaaris was ordered to pay compensation of Rs 500,000 to the gangrape victim.
The judge ordered police to take Aaris, who was present in court on bail, into custody while sending all accused to jail with conviction orders. The convicts have seven days to file an appeal in the Lahore High Court.