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Court acquits man in beheading case

QUEENSLAND, Australia: A man accused of beheading his friend during a fishing trip has been acquitted after appealing his conviction.

Mohammed Khan had received a life sentence over the decapitation of Syeid Alam whose body was found near a stream in Rockhampton on April 16, 2016. The victim’s head was found nearby, wrapped in jeans.

A small axe was also found in the area a day later.

Although the sexual affair between Alam’s brother, Sha Alam and Khan’s wife Suparti, ended seven weeks earlier, Khan became violent when the issue of naked photos of Suparti was brought up, the court was told.

Khan was found guilty in the Rockhampton Supreme Court in February, but the Queensland Appeal Court has overturned the conviction.

The trial’s central issue was whether the jury could be satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that it was Khan who killed Alam, the Appeal Court judges said in their reasons published on Monday.

“The case was entirely circumstantial and ultimately depended upon what might be inferred from the fact that the deceased and the appellant planned to go fishing on the night of 5 April,” the judgment said.

The judges found the decapitation would have produced a substantial amount of blood, but there was no forensic evidence linking Khan to the death.

“Given that the deceased was beheaded and his head was wrapped in his jeans, the natural point of submissions at the trial was that the jury could have expected the killer to have had the deceased’s blood on him or his clothes or in his car,” they said.

“In the circumstances, the jury should have had a doubt that prevented them from being satisfied beyond reasonable doubt of the identification of the deceased’s killer as the appellant.”