Faisal Mehmood v. State (2016 SCMR 2138)

An unexplained delay that indicated deliberations before registering the FIR, a planted witness, and scientifically-dubious medical evidence, cannot support a conviction.

The accused was convicted under PPC 302(b) and sentenced to death. The Lahore High Court confirmed the sentence. The accused was alleged to have killed his father’s second wife and her five minor children, wanting to receive an undue share of his father’s property.

The Supreme Court found that much of the evidence introduced was doubtful or suspicious. There was a delay of 18 to 36 hours between the death and the post-mortem, which the Court found indicative of “a lot of deliberation” before actually registering the FIR. An eye-witness who claimed to have seen the accused entering the victims’ house with a hatched in the middle of the night, had no evidence to support his being there (as he lived very far away) and did not report the story until some time later. The Court thus stated he was “procured and planted at some subsequent stage.” The prosecution relied most on recovery of a blood-stained hatchet from the accused during the investigation, but the item was taken from a cattle shed of the complainant, and was thus not in exclusive custody of the accused. The blood on the hatchet was not tested for two years, while the Court stated it has been proven scientifically that human blood disintegrates in weeks. The accused was alleged to have made an extra-judicial confession to “person A,” who then brought the accused to police – yet “person A” was never produced and both the accused and police stated that the arrest had taken place elsewhere. The Court concluded there were serious doubts as to each and every aspect of the prosecution’s case, and acquitted the accused.