Thursday, April 9, 2015

Calcutta HC commutes death sentence of child killer

TNN | Apr 3, 2015, 04.49AM IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta high court on Tuesday spared the life of a man sentenced to death for raping and murdering his 13-year-old stepson in September 2007. Sanjay Haldar alias Batul was on death row but will now spend 25 years in jail. He was the ninth prisoner awaiting execution in the state according to a January 2015 headcount. The trial court had sentenced him to death because it felt Sanjay would be a threat to society if allowed to walk free, but a high court division bench thought differently.

The case dates back to September 27, 2007, when a woman, Mamata Haldar, walked into East Jadavpur police station to file a complaint about her missing son. She said that the 13-year-old boy was last seen with her second husband, Sanjay, and that he always hated the child. She said Sanjay regularly abused him sexually and threatened to kill him. The child's body was found dumped in Dhapa and an autopsy confirmed that he had been raped and strangled to death. The prosecution fielded 14 witnesses, one of whom had seen Sanjay and the child just before the murder at Dhapa. The witness picked out Sanjay from a line-up and a trial court sentenced Sanjay to death, noting that it was a heinous crime. "The victim was helpless. The accused, his stepfather, was in a dominating position and had carnal intercourse with him for several days in a very cold and pre-planned way, concealed evidence and brutally strangled him.

The conduct of the accused proves that he is a man who cannot be rectified or reformed. His free movement in society will be dangerous. If this kind of crime is treated leniently, wrong signals will go out to society," the order read. A high court bench of Justice Ashim Kumar Roy and Justice Ishan Chandra Das agreed that the crime was "undoubtedly grave, serious and heinous". "He had a dirty and perverted mind and no control over his carnal desire. The victim was a helpless boy. Not only did he have carnal intercourse with the boy regularly but murdered him and destroyed evidence.

Nevertheless, it cannot be held that he is such a dangerous person that to spare his life would endanger the community," the bench said, adding that seen in the light of the principle laid down by Supreme Court, Sanjay should be jailed for 25 years rather than executed. SC guidelines on imposing death penalty 1) The court must consider every relevant circumstance relating to the crime and the criminal 2) If the court finds that the offence is of an exceptionally depraved and heinous character and constitutes a danger to society, it may impose the death sentence 3) The court should consider the probability of the accused repeating the crime and the likelihood of him/her being reformed and rehabilitated

Source: [last accessed 09 April 2015]

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