Muhammad Ismail v. State (2017 SCMR 713)

The complainant’s testimony alone is not sufficient to prove motive, even where the accused chooses to remain silent. A lack of motive means a capital sentence cannot be awarded.

Tags: Lack of motive   Murder  

The accused was convicted under PPC section 302(b) and sentenced to death for the murder of his brother. The Lahore High Court confirmed conviction and sentence. As motive, the prosecution alleged that the accused had demanded that the deceased give his daughter’s hand in marriage to the accused’s (and the deceased’s) cousin, and that the deceased had refused. The only evidence to support such motive was the testimony of the complainant, the deceased’s widow. The accused, when questioned about his motive in court, said he did not wish to discuss it. The court found the widow’s testimony alone to be insufficient evidence to prove the motive, and stated that “once the prosecution sets up a particular motive but fails to prove the same, then, ordinarily capital sentence of death is not awarded, which is a consistent view of the Courts since long.” The court maintained the accused’s conviction but commuted his sentence to life imprisonment with the benefit of Cr.P.C. section 382-B, plus fine.