London [UK], January 28 (ANI): The trial of 31-year-old British-Pakistani man Muhammad Gohir Khan, charged for conspiring to kill Netherlands-based blogger and activist, Ahmad Waqass Goraya, came to a closure on Wednesday at the Kingston-upon-Thames Crown Court as both sides concluded their arguments.
The jury will now deliberate on the evidence produced and return with a majority verdict.
The prosecution maintained that Khan was hired by persons who appeared to be based in Pakistan to carry out the "intended killing" of Goraya.
The financial rewards for his actions were believed to be significant, with a payment of £100,000 on offer. At the time, the prosecution claimed, the defendant was in significant debt, with no clear means of paying his creditors.
According to Dawn, the jury heard the defence counsel make a final statement in which the prosecution's allegations against defendant Khan were rebuffed.
Counsel Maloney said the defendant never intended to kill blogger Goraya as his intention was to get money out of the Pakistan-based middleman Muzamil who sought to contract him for the hit, as payback for financial damages that were incurred to the defendant some years ago, Dawn reported.
It further reported that lending strength to his claim, the defence counsel said Khan never deleted messages from his devices and that though he was persistent about travelling to Rotterdam where the target lived, he was also "persistently reckless about arrest".
Maloney said there are "real problems with the theory about the knife".
The prosecution a day earlier in its closing statement said the 10.99- euro knife was allegedly purchased by his client as a murder weapon, and that he paid cash for it and kept a receipt to get it reimbursed by the middleman. The prosecution had alleged that Khan had picked that specific knife, and not a cheaper one, to use it in the murder so that he could conceal the murder weapon, the Pakistani publication reported.
The defence side, however, argued that his was a paring knife and "not a chopping or carving knife". The counsel said: "That is not a knife we think would be right for that purpose [to murder]," Dawn reported.
According to the Pakistani publication, Maloney elaborated that if his client wanted to buy a knife to kill someone, he would have paid 2 euros more and bought a 12.99-euro knife, next to the one he actually had purchased. He then challenged the prosecution's argument that Khan paid for the knife in cash and didn't want to be found, by saying that he made other cash payments and even kept the receipt for the knife with him.
"If the purpose of cash was to conceal the purchase of a knife, why in heaven's name would he bring the receipt back with him to St Pancras?" he argued.
The lawyer said the distinctive red car his client hired with his own documents also demonstrated he did not intend to kill blogger Goraya. "You think he would kill him in broad daylight?" he beseeched members of the jury, Dawn reported.
Maloney said Khan sat in that distinctive car registered in his name for hours, which would surely have outed him as he used it to go to shops and inquire about Goraya from people.
The defence counsel said the reality was that Khan persisted in his attempts to extract money as he "never thought he wouldn't get it". Though Muzamil said he would not pay more than the money, the defendant did not accept it and kept trying to get out a few thousand pounds. "If he was going to go ahead with the murder and get £80,000, why would he try so hard to get a few thousand?"
At previous hearings, the jury was told how Muzamil allegedly contacted Khan in 2021 with an offer to pay pound 80,000 for the job, while telling him about his own commission of Pound 20,000.
Pakistani blogger Ahmad Waqass Goraya fled his homeland after he was threatened, kidnapped, and tortured by authorities.
According to the blogger, the arrest of the British-Pakistani man was linked to an incident that took place on February 12, 2021.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's deafening silence on the disclosers made in the UK Court in the case of Khan has raised serious questions on the country's stand on human rights and free speech. (ANI)