Improvements in the Testimony of Eye Witnesses

Improvements in the Testimony of Eye Witnesses Benefit of doubt Case Laws Criminal Appeal Criminal Law Evidence Improvements Knowledge - Criminal Law Lahore High Court Litigation & Arbitration Solutions - Criminal Law Mr. Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed in his judgment has decided the issue regarding improvements in the testimony of eye witnesses in Criminal Appeal No. 1646 of 2010.

1. Hafeezullah son of Ahmad Hayat, appellant herein, is in receipt of a guilty verdict, returned to him vide impugned judgment dated 24-6-2010 by a learned Addl. Sessions Judge at Chiniot; he was tried along with Saleemullah, Ahmad Hayat and Umar Hayat. Ahmad Hayat died during the trial whereas Saleemullah and Umar Hayat stand acquitted. In the wake of his conviction under Sections 302 (b), 324, 337-F(iii), 337-F(vi) of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860 with sentence of death along with payment of compensation in the sum of Rs.500,000/- or to undergo six months SI in the event of default, seven years R.I. with fine of Rs.50,000/- or six months SI in default payment thereof, three years R.I. with payment of Daman of Rs.25,000/-each, respectively, he has challenged the vires of impugned judgment through Crl. Appeal No.1646 of 2010. Crl. Appeal No.2214 of 2010 filed by Khuda Bukhsh, complainant seeks reversal of acquittal of Saleemullah and Umar Hayat, co-accused; Murder Reference No.564 of 2010 has been sent for confirmation of death penalty; these are being decided through this single judgment.

2. Prosecution case is structured upon statement Ex.PN of Khuda Bukhsh (PW-1) recorded straight at Police Station Barrana by Habibullah, ASI (PW-9) at 9:00 p.m, wherein it is alleged that on the fateful day the complainant along with Muhammad Amin (PW-4), Muhammad Ashraf and Salahuddin (PW-5) had visited Police Station Barrana in connection with investigation of a case registered vide FIR No.356 of 2007 whereafter, Sanaullah deceased, 42, in the company of Salahuddin and Muhammad Iqbal, PWs boarded a car bearing Registration No.IDH-7005; complainant, Faisal, Naveed and Muhammad Ashraf followed them in another car; at about 7:30 p.m, they were intercepted by Hafeezullah, Saleemullah, Tahir Imran and Muhammad Imtiaz accompanied by two unknown companions, armed with Kalashnikovs. The appellant hit Muhammad Amin, PW with a straight fire shot landing on his right arm followed by a fire by one of the unknown assailants hitting Muhammad Iqbal (given up PW) on his right leg. Tahir Imran accused exhorted the deceased to come out of the vehicle whereafter he along with Saleemullah and Muhammad Imtiaz made indiscriminate firing on Sanaullah and Salahuddin.

3. The witnesses, out of fear, stayed at bay, the assailants decamped and the deceased succumbed to his injuries on the spot. Motive for the occurrence is previous cases registered vide separate FIRs between the complainant side and the accused. Ahmad Hayat and Umar Hayat sons of Ghulam Muhammad were arrayed as abettors in the crime. The Investigating Officer, during spot inspection, secured blood from inside car (P-4). Autopsy was conducted by Dr. Ijaz Hussain (PW-12) at 10:00 a.m. on 6-12-2007, who noted entry wounds on back of right upper chest, 2 cm from vertebral column with a corresponding exit, on back of right upper chest, right middle chest, right upper buttock and back of left arm; a grazing wound 4 cm x 1.5 cm was seen on the right lower buttock. An exit wound was found on the back of left upper chest as well as an abrasion on the inner side of right leg.

4. Firearm injuries were opined as cause of death. Probable time between the injuries and death was reckoned as immediate whereas between death and postmortem as 13 to 15 hours. Dr. Munir Ahmad (PW-8) medically examined Muhammad Amin (PW-4) and Salahuddin (PW-5). The said Medical Officer also examined one Muhammad Rafique son of Muhammad Farid as well. Muhammad Amin (PW-4) was noted to have a swelling on top of head with a firearm wound on the middle part of right forearm as well as on inner aspect of right upper arm and inner aspect of right leg; wounds on the right forearm had corresponding exits. Salahuddin (PW-5) was noted with a lacerated wound 1 cm x 1 cm on the back of right upper arm. Tahir Imran and Muhammad Imtiaz accused are away from law till date; they stand proceeded against in their absence. Mazhar and Nasir were identified as the unknown assailants, they along with the abettors were exonerated during the course of investigation and so is Saleemullah. Investigating Officer secured one licensed 12 caliber gun (P-3) from the spot. According to memo Ex.PA, gun P-3 along with 26 live cartridges belongs to Ahmed Hayat accused. On completion of investigation, the appellant along with co-accused was sent to face trial, who contested the charge; prosecution in order to bring home the charge, produced sixteen witnesses; Shahid Mehmood, Inspector and Ijaz Hussain, SI were examined as Court witnesses.

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