Irfan Ali v The State (2015 SCMR 840)

Witness testimony that contradicts medical evidence loses credibility, and witnesses found to have falsely testified with regard to a co-accused cannot be relied upon against the accused unless the testimony is sufficiently corroborated through strong evidence from an unimpeachable source.

Tags: Acquittal   Murder   Witness testimony  

The accused was convicted of murder and sentenced to death under PPC 302(b). The death sentence was confirmed by the Lahore High Court. The supposed eyewitnesses gave a narrative description of the entire incident with great accuracy of many details, but mentioned only injuries inflicted with a firearm. The post-mortem investigation revealed six additional injuries caused by a dagger, at which time a supplementary statement of the complainant was submitted mentioning use of a dagger. When the complainant renounced the supplementary statement at trial, it was introduced into the statement of another prosecution witness. Because the medical evidence was “entirely inconsistent” with the witness accounts, the accounts lost credibility and the Court deemed the crime an unwitnessed occurrence. Moreover, the same witness testimony had been disbelieved in the case of a co-accused, and the Court held that “Whenever witnesses are found to have falsely deposed with regard to the involvement of one co-accused then, ordinarily, they cannot be relied upon qua the other co-accused unless their testimony is sufficiently corroborated through strong corroboratory evidence, coming from unimpeachable source.” Finding no such corroboratory evidence, the accused was acquitted.