While unrequited love leading to murder is nothing new, the social media profiles of the parties involved often shed light on motive and provide evidence that would not be as readily available without it. Take the case of Mayra Zulfiqar, a British woman who was
recently murdered in her rented home in Pakistan on May 3, 2021. Ms. Zulfiqar had filed a police report on April 20, 2021, accusing a man of sexually assaulting her and then threatening her at gunpoint several days later. According to news media, Zahir Jadoon, a wealthy man from Lamore, had proposed to Zulfiqar, and she refused. Jadoon has since confessed to the killing. There are a couple of things of note in this case. One is that confessions to police are not legally binding under Pakistani laws if a member of the judiciary isn’t present. These
“confessions” are often obtained through coercion, and the victim’s father had been pressing for movement in the case, even appealing to Pakistan’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzailn to become involved. But the second thing is that both victim and accuser had extensive social media followings. Zulfiqar was an Instagram “star” with thousands of followers and Jadoon’s
social media posts were scattered with photos of him with multiple firearms. Because Ms. Zulfiqar was shot and strangled, these photos will undoubtedly be of interest to the prosecution.
Social Media — A Double-Edged Sword
Here in the United States, social media posts can have a harmful effect on a defendant’s criminal defense in many ways. It’s important to note that social media are public platforms and prosecutors have access to almost anything that has been shared
or consumed online, even if you think you have used significant privacy settings.
● Setting your location — Where were you last night? Your apps know. If you have a smartphone, many apps have the ability to track your location. Most social media also have location tracking capability to allow their advertisers to focus their targeting. This is information that is readily available information in a criminal case.
● Setting your mental state — Any emotional posts on social media can affect your case. If you have posted during a time of anger, annoyance, or distress, your comments can be held against you to establish your mental state, or they may
paint you as someone capable of committing the crime.
● Private messages are not so private — Have you ever engaged in a less-than-friendly exchange on social media in private messaging mode? Those can be admitted to the court as evidence and come back to haunt your defence.
● Social media is forever — The permanence of social media has provided many a piece of evidence in a criminal case. Thought you deleted something? You may have deleted it from some views, but it is tidily stored in the media’s server
somewhere, just waiting to derail your defence.
Although social media can be a great way to connect with others, it has the potential of unfavourable outcomes if you’re facing criminal charges. If you have been accused of a crime in New York City, the rest of your life may depend on the quality of your defence.
Contact the aggressive criminal defense team at the Bukh Law Firm for a free consultation to discuss your legal strategy.