Abdul Jabbar v. State (2017 SCMR 1155)

In a case involving unreliable evidence, such as an FIR that was completed after a delay and uncorroborated statements made by eyewitnesses, a court may not uphold a death sentence.

The accused was convicted and sentenced to death under PPC 302(b) for the murder of the deceased. This sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by the Lahore High Court, noting that the prosecution had failed to establish motive and the recovery of weapons from accused had been legally inconsequential. The Supreme Court noted that several factors had rendered the evidence questionable. The eyewitnesses were close relatives of the complainant and the victim but were not the ones to bring the victim to the hospital, they failed to justify their presence at the scene of the crime, and they later edited their statements to bring them in line with the medical reports. There was also no independent evidence to corroborate their claims. Additionally, the Court found that no FIR had been filed at the local police station and that a post-mortem was conducted 12 hours after the deceased was brought to the hospital, providing some indication of deliberate delays. Taking into account these discrepancies, the Court held that the prosecution had failed to establish its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt. The accused was subsequently acquitted.