Pathan v State (2015 SCMR 315)

Witness testimony describing “unnatural conduct” will be considered sceptically by the Court. Witness testimony will be discarded where the prosecution fails to prove witnesses actually observed the alleged crime.

Tags: Acquittal   Murder   Witness testimony  

The accused was convicted of murder and sentenced to death under PPC 302(b). The Sindh High Court commuted the death sentence to life imprisonment. The accused, a teacher, was alleged to have attacked the deceased, a head teacher, with scissors and stabbed him 19 times because the deceased had transferred him to another school. Three eye-witnesses were all related to the deceased. The Court discredited the witness testimony, stating that inflicting 19 stab wounds would have taken some time and that it was “unnatural conduct” that three present relatives of the deceased would have made no effort to intervene to save the deceased or to apprehend the accused after. Thus, the actual presence of the witnesses at the occurrence was “highly doubtful” and no explicit reliance cold be placed on their testimony. The motive was also disbelieved, because the deceased did not have authority to transfer the accused. Stating that the prosecution had “miserably failed to prove the presence of the eye-witnesses on the crime spot at the fateful time, therefore, it is held to be an unseen crime,” the Court found the remaining evidence insufficient to support a conviction and acquitted the accused.