“Presumption of innocence remains throughout the case
Asia Bibi case: Justice Asif Saeed Khosa’s additional noteAsia Bibi had filed appeal in 2014 challenging her death sentence awarded by trial court as well as by high court under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).Complete Supreme Court verdictThe chief justice penned that it was a “well settled principal of law that the one who makes an assertion has to prove it.Thus, the onus rests on the prosecution to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt throughout the trial.”Presumption of innocence remains throughout the case until such time the prosecution on the evidence satisfies the Court beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the offence alleged against him”, the CJ added.Where there is any doubt in the prosecution story, benefit should be given to the accused, which is quite consistent with the safe administration of criminal justice” the judgment said.In Justice Khosa’s opinion: “Blasphemy is a serious offence but the insult of the appellant’s religion and religious sensibilities by the complainant party and then mixing truth with falsehood in the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) was also not short of being blasphemous.”He added “for what has been discussed in the case, a conclusion is inescapable and irresistible that the prosecution had failed to prove its case against the appellant beyond reasonable doubt”.The appeal is, therefore, allowed, the conviction and sentence of the appellant recorded and upheld by the courts below, are set aside and she is acquitted of the charge by extending the benefit of doubt to her, the apex court ruled.The order read: “It is a well settled principle of law that one who makes an assertion has to prove it. Thus, the onus rests on the prosecution to prove guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt throughout the trial.”Presumption of innocence remains throughout the case until such time the prosecution on the evidence satisfies the Court beyond reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty of the offence alleged against him. There cannot be a fair trial, which is itself the primary purpose of criminal jurisprudence, if the judges have not been able to clearly elucidate the rudimentary concept of standard of proof that prosecution must meet in order to obtain a conviction.
While house prices are still rising across the city, rents have been relatively stable for more than five years, and for some apartments and units, had fallen a few per cent in recent years, he said. “But while stable, the rents in Canberra are still relatively high comparatively and not really that much different from Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.The boom had led to an oversupply of about 6700 dwellings, the vast majority of which were apartments or attached dwellings, Associate Professor Ben Phillips, an economist at the Australian National University, said.About 80 per cent of all new dwellings built in Canberra in the past decade have been apartments or other attached dwellings. Photo: Graham TidyMr Phillips said building completions in the 10 years to June 2018 had been roughly double that of the decade to 2008, with about 5000 completions a year, only 20 per cent which had been free standing homes.Despite the oversupply, Mr Phillips said if ACT population growth continued at the same rate as the past year, it was likely to soak up some of that surplus, and with building approvals still at about 5000 a year, the imbalance should level out in the coming years.”It’s also relatively small compared to the total number of dwellings in Canberra,” he said.”It will take a few years to level out, but at the moment, we do have population growth that is more than supporting what is being built at the moment.”My general take is that over the past 10 years, we’ve built considerably more than was necessary with Canberra’s population growth, however, the current level is roughly in line with requirements,” Dr Phillips said.Since records began in the mid 1980s, there had not been a 10 year period in Canberra where there had been so much housing built, and as it came during a period of significant federal public service cuts, rising population and economic growth, it was a positive story overall for the ACT, he said.Mr Phillips said given more people were living in units, and fewer people tend to live in a unit than a detached house, there was a need to build more overall dwellings per capita than before.He also said that while the city was affordable for those on an average to higher incomes in Canberra, and there was a smaller proportion of residents in poverty than the major capital cities, the ACT remained one of the toughest places for low income earners.While house prices are still rising across the city, rents have been relatively stable for more than five years, and for some apartments and units, had fallen a few per cent in recent years, he said.”But while stable, the rents in Canberra are still relatively high comparatively and not really that much different from Sydney and Melbourne,” he said.
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