Azhar Mehmood v. State (2017 SCMR 135)

A test identification parade is of no evidentiary value if the accused are not identified with respect to a specific role in the incident, and in-court identification is unsafe if the witness had opportunity to see the accused in the dock.

The accused were convicted of dacoity with murder under PPC 460, 396 and 302(b), read with PPC 34, P.P.C. The Trial Court sentenced them to death. The Lahore High Court upheld the death sentence against one accused and commuted the sentence for the others to life imprisonment. The Supreme Court found many issues with identification. The offence took place after dark with no source of light, which made it less likely that a witness could accurately identify any suspect. During the test identification parade, the accused were identified buy not with reference to any role played by them in the incident. The Court quoted an earlier judgment stating that“such a test identification parade is legally laconic and is of no evidentiary value.” The witness who made the test identification later identified the accused in court after 14 prosecution witnesses had already made their statements. On these occasions the accused were physically present in the dock, meaning the eye-witness had several opportunities to see the accused in the courtroom. Weapons recovered and medical evidence also failed to pinpoint the accused as the actual culprits. Therefore all accused were acquitted of the charges.