Lahore High Court (LHC) has on Tuesday changed the death sentence of a man convicted of raping an 11-month-old to life imprisonment. The decision was made in light of a negative DNA report and the age of the convict at the time of the incident.

Justice Aalia Neelum headed the two-judge bench hearing the case, where she remarked, “We have concluded that the prosecution has proven its case against the appellant, Muhammad Rafique, beyond any doubt. However, the factors that have persuaded us not to uphold the capital sentence of the appellant are the negative DNA report and the appellant’s age at the time of the incident.”

The verdict states that the High Court has maintained the fine of three lac rupees as charged by the trial court but the court believes that the death sentence awarded to the appellant is quite “harsh” considering the age of the convict at the time of the crime and the negative result of the DNA report. As per law, the accused always gets the benefit of the doubt and in this case this results in mitigating the severity of the punishment by changing it to life imprisonment.

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Justice Neelum observed that there is no doubt that the baby girl was raped because in our traditional society, no parent of a minor girl will risk her future by falsely implicating somebody of raping her.

The case against Muhammad Rafique was registered back in 2019 at a police station in Kasur.