Zahir Yousaf v. State (2017 SCMR 2002)

Where a court finds evidence to be inconsistent, the accused may be acquitted.

The accused was convicted and sentenced to death under PPC 302(b) for murdering the deceased by firing at him with a pistol, in the presence of other witnesses. The Lahore High Court commuted the sentence to life imprisonment. On appeal, the Supreme Court noted that the ocular testimony provided by the witnesses was not reliable. The witnesses claimed to have seen the accused at night time, when it could not have been easy for them to identify him. The medical report submitted also contradicted the witnesses’ testimony on the distance between the deceased and the accused. Finally, the recovery of a pistol in the accused’s possession was legally inconsequential, as no crime empties or metallic pieces were sent to the Forensic Scientific Laboratory for testing. In light of these inconsistencies, the Court held that the prosecution had failed to establish its case against the accused. Thus, extending the benefit of doubt, the accused was acquitted.