Elements of Grave and Sudden Provocation

Elements of Grave and Sudden Provocation Case Laws Criminal Appeal Criminal Law Grave and Sudden Provocation Injured Witness Interested Witness Knowledge - Criminal Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Murder Punishment u/s 302 (c) Solutions - Criminal Law Mr. Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed in his judgment has decided the murder reference involving elements of grave and sudden provocation in Criminal Appeal No. 196 of 2012.

1. Sajid Mehmood, 26, hereinafter referred to as the deceased, was fatally stabbed during the night between 15/16.4.2011 at 12:15 a.m., inside a house, situating at a distance of ½ k.m from Police Station Jand. Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) sustained injuries during the occurrence; Khurram Shahzad, appellant herein, accompanied by Hamid Shahzad, Adnan Sajid, Shahid Hafeez, Hafeez-ur-Rehman, Mst. Kaneez Bibi and Mst. Shabnam Luqman was nominated as accused in statement (Ex.PE) of Safeer Ahmad (PW-9), recorded by Muhammad Bashir, S.I (PW-14), 2:00 a.m. at the spot wherein he alleged that the deceased was his maternal uncle in relation and a close confidant as well, according to him he was carrying on with Shabnam Luqman accused, who sent for him on phone and in this backdrop, he accompanied the deceased at 12:15 p.m during the fateful night and that as they entered the baithak of the house, the accused named above confronted them; took the deceased in the courtyard where Khurram Shahzad, appellant dealt him six repeated blows with a Churri hitting on his chest, cheek, forehead, left arm, left shoulder and neck; he felled on the ground and became unconscious where after he was put on a cot and tied with ropes.

2. Hamid Shahzad, Adnan Sajid and Shahid Hafeez gave multiple stick blows to Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) and thereafter fled from the scene. It is alleged that Mst.Shabnam Luqman deceitfully induced the deceased and it was under this manipulated arrangement that all the accused assaulted the deceased and the injured. The deceased, in injured condition, accompanied by the complainant was shifted to THQ Hospital, Jand at about 2:20 a.m; Dr. Zafar Iqbal Khatak (PW-3) noted six incised wounds on the person of Sajid Mehmood deceased, on epigastrium, left cheek, forehead, left arm, left shoulder and left side of neck; he was pronounced dead at 3:00 a.m. whereafter autopsy was conducted by the same Medical Officer. Injury No.1 on the epigastrium was blamed as cause of death and probable time between the injuries and death was estimated as 30 to 90 minutes whereas death and postmortem two hours. Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) was also medically examined; he was noted to have 10 injuries, comprising of contusions, lacerations and swelling on different parts of his body. Muhammad Bashir, S.I (PW-14) conducted initial investigation and during spot inspection secured bloodstained earth, cot (P3), string (P4), cotton ropes (P5/1-3), secured vide inventories; a supplementary statement was recorded wherein Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) furnished some additional details of the occurrence in respect of the manner as to how he was able to get himself released and managed to untie the deceased. Kaneez Bibi and Shabnam Luqman were arrested on 18-4-2011, followed by Khurram Shahzad, Hamid Shahzad, Shahid Hafeez and Adnan Sajid on 19-4-2011. Hamid Shahzad, Shahid Hafeez and Adnan Sajid, pursuant to their disclosure, on 23.4.2011, led to the recovery of wooden plank (P7) and clubs (P11) and (P8) respectively besides cell phone (P9/1-3). Khurram Shahzad, appellant got recovered Churri (P6) on 24.4.2011.

3. The Investigating Officer also collected cell phone data (P11) on 18-5-2011. On conclusion of investigation, the accused were sent to face trial before a learned Addl: Sessions Judge at Jand; they contested the indictment and claimed trial, pursuant whereto, prosecution produced as many as fourteen witnesses besides placing reliance upon forensic reports to drive home charge against them; of them, Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) is the star witness; he claims to have accompanied the deceased to the spot and viewed the occurrence; he himself sustained injuries and was medically examined alongwith the deceased. Tariq Mehmood (PW-10) and Abdul Hameed (PW-11) are the witnesses of recoveries, effected from the accused. The accused confronted prosecution evidence with a unanimous denial and took the following plea:- “On the night of incident, deceased and complainant went to steal Van of Luqman, father of Shabnam Luqman, accused, parked outside their house and in the course of commission of theft watchman arrived at the spot. Consequently, clash occurred between watchmen and complainant etc and they received injuries in this clash. On hearing noise, Luqman and Ahmad Zaman arrived at the spot. Consequently, scuffle also occurred between Luqman, etc deceased and complainant. On account of this scuffle and disclosure of occurrence of theft, the complainant party falsely involved me for being son of Luqman, in order to cover up their offence of theft. “ The learned trial Judge, acquitted Hamid Shahzad, Shahid Hafeez, Adnan Sajid, Kaneez Bibi, Shabnam Luqman and Hafeez-ur-Rehman from the charge, however, proceeded to convict Khurram Shahzad appellant under Section 302 (b) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 and sentenced him to death along with payment of compensation of Rs.200,000/- or to undergo six months SI in the event of default vide judgment dated 21-4-2012, vires whereof, are being challenged through Crl. Appeal No. 196 of 2012; The State seeks confirmation of death penalty vide Murder Reference No. 29 of 2012; these are being decided together through this single judgment.

4. Learned counsel for the appellant contends that evidence disbelieved qua six out of seven accused cannot sustain appellant’s conviction without independent corroboration, not available on the record; that occurrence did not take place in the manner as alleged in complaint Ex.PE and as such the case of prosecution was not free from doubt; lastly it has been argued that even on stated facts the case of the appellant was covered by clause(c) of Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860. Contrarily, the learned Law Officer assisted by learned counsel for the complainant has defended the impugned judgment on the ground that occurrence took place inside the house of the appellant, within the view of an injured person and as such his culpability stood established beyond doubt; that the deceased was deceitfully induced to visit the venue where after he was brutally stabbed to death in a merciless manner and that proviso to clause (c) of Section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, commands to deal with cases of murder in the name or pretext of honour to be dealt with under clause (a) or (b) thereof. Lastly it has been argued that given the magnitude of violence, unleashed upon the deceased, a case for confirmation of death penalty stands made out. 3. Heard. Record perused.

5. It is prosecution’s own case that the deceased and Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) besides being relative were close friends as well and that the deceased shared with him his romantic pursuits; seemingly, he was his trusted confidant; he sustained as many as ten injuries and was medically examined alongwith the deceased. It is his own case that the deceased was carrying on for the last one and half year with Shabnam Luqman, accused, a real sister of the appellant and an intimate of the house of occurrence, in this backdrop, presence of Safeer Ahmad (PW-9), at the spot in the company of the deceased during the fateful night cannot be doubted; injuries on his person confirmed that he was thrashed alongside the deceased by the inmates as well, though less grievously. Nonetheless, Safeer Ahmad (PW-9) is not telling the whole truth, as the hypothesis of arrival of the deceased, in the wake of deceitful inducement by Shabnam Luqman accused in complicity with her co-accused inside the house located in the middest of a small town at midnight in the month of April, is seemingly an attempt to hush up an unanticipated situation that confronted the deceased; this conspiracy theory is liable to be rejected for yet another reason as obviously the visit by the deceased and his murder inside the house, at an odd hour of the night, certainly embarrassed the family and this could have been avoided through some other more discreet methodology.

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