Javed Khan vs. State (2017 SCMR 524)

an identification parade is required (and in-court identification is insufficient) whenever a witness saw the culprit only fleetingly, and such parade is unsafe if the accused was shown to the witness before the procedure began and if the Magistrate did not certify that others in the parade were of similar appearance.

The accused was convicted and sentenced to death under PPC 392. The Lahore High Court converted the conviction to PPC 394 read with section 34, and commuted the sentence to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment. The victim was shot in a general store. A group of witnesses (including his son) heard the gun shot and rushed over just in time to see the assailants fleeing on motorcycles. The complainant son did not provide descriptions of the assailants in the FIR or in his statements recorded under Cr.P.C. 161. Thus there was no benchmark against which to test whether the accused questioned over a year after the crime were the true culprits. The accused were identified by a witness at an identification parade over a year after the alleged crime. The parade itself was flawed as the accused was shown to the witnesses before the procedure began, and because the Magistrate failed to certify that the other people in the parade were of similar age, height, build and colouring. Subsequent in-court identification of the accused by witnesses was inconsequential, because an identity parade is required whenever the witness saw the culprit only fleetingly. The identification was thus discredited and accused was acquitted.