Reliability of a witness. General Rule. Statement of a witness must be in consonance with the probabilities fitting in the circumstances of the case, and also inspire confidence in the mind of a reasonable prudent person. If these elements are present, then the statement of the worst enemy of the accused may be accepted and relied upon without corroboration, but if these elements are missing then statement of a pious man may be rejected without second thought. 1995 SCMR 1627, Haroon.
Inherent worth of evidence of a witness determines reliability. Relationship of witness with deceased or with PWs inter se or even their being interested is not ultimate guidance to their reliability. Interested witness is one who has motive to falsely implicate an accused. PLJ 1997 S.C. 946 Aslam etc.
Test of veracity. Inherent merit of the statement of a witness is the test of its veracity. (DB) 1975 P Cr. LJ 897. Abdul Latif.
Whether reliable? One PW a stock witness having participated in a large number of police investigations. The other witness from 18 miles away from the place of occurrence. The investigating officer unable to explain reasons for the nakabandi party. Held, evidence unreliable. (DB) 1975 PCr.LJ 675. Ashiq Hussain.
Who to believe? Choice between witnesses. When there is a question of which witness to rely on, the one favouring the accused should be considered on the principle of benefit of doubt going to the accused. (SC) PLD 1963 SC 17 Sikandar.
Eye-witnesses are of 3 classes: (1) Absolutely dependable, (2) Absolutely undependable, (3) Partly dependable and partly undependable. Where witnesses though closely related to the deceased were wholly dependable no corroboration is required. Where witnesses are partly dependable and partly otherwise corroboration is required. (DB) NLR 1991 Cr. 55 Javed Iqbal etc.
Statement of worst enemy of the accused may be relied upon without corroboration if such statement is in consonance with the probabilities, materially fits in with other evidence so as to inspire confidence of truth in a reasonable and prudent mind. If these elements are missing then the statement of a pious/nek mard may be discarded. (DB) PLJ 1991 Cr. C. (Lah.) 21 Javed Iqbal.
Credibility test of a witness depends on (1) his knowledge of facts, (2) his disinterestedness, (3) his integrity, (4) his veracity, (5) his bond to speak the truth on oath or affirmation. 1980 PCr.LJ 898 Abdul Nasir.
Impeachment of credibility. If there is one infirmity with impeaches the credit of a witness it is enough to make his entire statement doubtful. NLR 1985 Cr. 219. Abdul Wahab. PLJ 1985 Cr.C.(Lah.) 76.
Witness belied on one material particular disbelieved on another as well. Complainant charged accused for kidnapping and sodomy. act of sodomy belied by medical evidence. Charge of kidnapping also disbelieved when no other corroboration was found. PLJ 1984 FSC 131. Muhammad Yameen.
Recovery of pistol instead of gun from the accused, in the circumstances of the case did not adversely affect the testimony of eye-witnesses. 1997 SCMR 480, Khalid Khan.
Absence of motive or failure of prosecution to prove it does not adversely affect the testimony of eye-witnesses if they are otherwise reliable. 1996 SCMR 1411, Muhammad Hayat etc.
Witness perjuring himself on material particulars, held, his assertion should not be given any weight, regarding other aspects of the case, as well. (DB) NLR 1985 Cr. 339. Khalid Mahmood.
When eye-witnesses not found reliable enough in some important aspects, the conviction of the accused ought not to have been based on their testimony without independent corroboration. 1995 SCMR 847, Sohail Ahmad.
Credibility. Eye-witnesses found to have falsely implicated 7 out of 10 accused. The Supreme Court acquitted the 3 convicted accused as well because the same evidence regarding the convicted 3 cannot be relied upon without independent corroboration. (SC) PLJ 1976 SC 29. Ghulam Muhammad etc.
Presence of eye-witnesses at the spot does not mean that they are truthful. Corroboration is required as to both, the story and identity of assailants. The PWs falsely implicated a person whose alibi was proved. prosecution case pregnant with serious doubts. Appeal allowed. PLJ 1995 SC 636, Muhammad Jahangir.
Some accused acquitted on benefit of doubt while others convicted justified as the criminal Courts can sift grain from the chaff. The acquittal of some of the accused on benefit of doubt does not impair the veracity of the witnesses qua other accused whose involvement in the case is established without reasonable doubt. 1993 SCMR 544, Abdul Aziz.
When a witness is partly disbelieved, though he is not an interested witness, rule of prudence demands that his testimony should not be made the sole basis for conviction without corroboration by some other reliable evidence or circumstance. 1992 SCMR 372, Liaqat Ali and 11 others.
Despite the acquittal of co-accused when the ocular evidence was corroborated by an uninterested injured witness, medical evidence, motive and recoveries, conviction was maintained, 1994 SCMR 1, Iqbal.
P.Ws. discredited in respect of the majority of the accused. The evidence of such witnesses cannot be believed in respect of the remaining accused without independent corroboration. PLD 1976 Kar. 438 Rashid Ahmad.
Credibility whether divisible? Where the falsehood is merely an embroidery to a story that would not be enough to discredit the whole of the witness's evidence. But if the falsehood is on a major point in the case, or if one of the essential circumstances of the story told is clearly unfounded, this is enough to discredit the witness altogether. Hence the implication of a man in a murder in which he would not have possibility taken part is in the absence of convincing circumstantial evidence against the other alleged murderers a reason for acquitting them all. (DB) 42 Cr. LJ 53 Nadia etc. v. Emp.
Veracity when indivisible. Trial Court and High Court acquitted 3 accused on the same testimony oslah. 390 Ahmad of two witnesses holding them to be untruthful in respect of those 3 accusal, held the evidence of the two witnesses cannot corroborative evidence. Convicts acquitted. (SC) NLR 1982 Cr. 332. Abdur Rehman.
Credibility not divisible. Because of serious discrepancies in the statements before police and Court statement not accepted against one accused. As the credibility is not divisible evidence rejected against the other accused as well. (PC) PLD 1959 PC 24 Yousaf. (DB) PLJ 1978 Cr.C. (Lah.) 455. Muhammad Munir.
Credibility of ocular evidence not divisible. Ten co-accused acquitted as ocular evidence against them was disbelieved. Held, remaining two co-accused cannot be convicted on same evidence unless there is independent corroboration against them. Sentence of life imprisonment set aside. NLR 1988 Cr. 644 Faizo and Muhammad Ali.
The evidence of the prosecution witnesses wholly rejected as unreliable so far as most of the accused were concerned, held, unsafe to convict remaining accused on the same evidence in the absence of confirmatory circumstances. (FB) PLD 1954 FC 84 Muhammad etc. v. Crown.
Prosecution witnesses discredited in respect of majority of the accused, it is never considered safe to believe their evidence in respect of other accused unless there is some independent and strong corroboration regarding the other accused. Appeal allowed. (DB) PLJ 1996 Cr.C. (Kar) 1679, Hajjan Shah.
Single witness's statement regarded false in relation to some accused, it becomes subject to reasonable doubt regarding the other accused as well Tribal Court's estimate of credibility important as he saw and heard the witness. (FC) PLD 1954 FC 171 Muhammad Afsar. (FB) PLD 1964 Pesh. 12 Ghulam Farid. 1973 P.Cr.LJ 1041. Nazar Muhammad etc. (SC) 1972 SCMR 651 Sher Bahadar.
Veracity not divisible. Evidence as to a part of the incident disbelieved, it cannot be believed about the other part without corroboration. (DB) PLD 1965 Kar. 119 Araz Muhammad.
Credibility not divisible. Some accused acquitted and some accused convicted on the same evidence. Evidence discrepant and impeachable. Accused acquitted. (DB) 1976 P.Cr.LJ. 348 Muhammad Ibrahim.
When the P.Ws. disbelieved in respect of the majority of the accused. It cannot be accepted against on set of the accused and rejected against the other (DB) PLD 1962 Lah. 390 Ahmad Khan etc.
Ocular evidence disbelieved qua 6 accused cannot be made basis of convictions of remaining accused. (DB) NLR 1985 Cr. 721. Muhammad Nawaz etc.
Statement of PW cannot be discarded because he lied about his son from second wife. (DB) PLJ 1988 Cr.C. (Lah.) 301. Dost Muhammad.
Ocular evidence partly believed and partly disbelieved for good reasons. Court to sift grain from chaff. (DB) NLR 1988 Cr. 335 Sahib Din etc.
Credibility whether divisible and corroboration when needed and when not needed. (DB) PLJ 1975 Cr.C. (Lah.) 128 Muhammad Khan etc.
Witness disbelieved in respect of the some accused cannot be believed in respect of one co-accused without any corroborating evidence. (DB) PLJ 1975 Cr.C. (Lah.) 19 Hakam Khan.
Some P.Ws. disbelieved is not enough reason for discarding the evidence of other witnesses definitely connecting the accused with the commission of the crime. (SC) 1976 SCMR 91. Sher Gul.
Veracity divisible. Mere fact that a witness was found not telling the truth in one particular it cannot make the Court ignore the rest of his statement. (DB) 1968 PCr.LJ (Lah.) 386 Ahmad.
Falsus in uno falsus in omnibus. Eye-witnesses falsely implicated one of the accused whose alibi was beyond doubt. Their evidence cannot be accepted against the other accused unless corroborated by other pieces of evidence. (DB) PLD 1958 Lah. 242 Rang Ali.
Sifting grain form chaff. Version given by eye-witnesses proved to be false qua majority of accused. Their evidence qua other accused should also be disregarded. Held, it would be extremely unsafe to apply principle of sifting grain from chaff in the circumstances of the case. (SC) NLR 1981 Cr. 2. Pir Bakhsh.
Sifting grain from chaff has to be done when both the parties are determined to withhold truth from the Court. 1992 SCMR 1647, Shahid Raza.
Sift grain from chaff. Falsus in uno falsus in omnibus" cannot be applied to the administration of criminal justice. Courts have to sift grain from the chaff. (SC) PLD 1973 SC 418 State v. Mushtaq Ahmed. (DB) PLD 1969 Lah. 987 Muhammad Sharif.
Discarded, "Falsus in uno falsus in omnibus", has all along been discarded by the Courts in this country, similarly the rule that the, integrity of a witness in indivisible", despite its moral virtue cannot be accepted as of universal application. "The grain has to be sifted from the chaff" in each case according to its circumstances. (SC) PLD 1970 SC 13 Tawaib Khan. (SC) 1973 SCMR 162 Sumano.
Falsus in uno Falsus in omnibus? (also see maxims) Several accused. One acquitted on the basis of alibi and another because his participation was found doubtful because of old age. Contention that prosecution evidence was not reliable on the principle tat a witness found false in part shall be disbelieved in whole is not applicable in such a case. (SC) 1969 SCMR 132 Muhammad Nawaz etc. 1973 SCMR 215. Abdus Samad.
Lapse of time: The witnesses saw every thing there was to see. After the lapse of 15 years they remembered every thing they saw as if it had occurred yesterday. The learned Judges of the High Court, not perhaps without reason, distrust eyes so observant and memories so retentive (PC) 1893 Bald 521 Gossain Dalmir Puri v. Munshi Gopi Nath.
Statement after 11 years; Witness deposing to facts with great particularity after' 11 years. No special reason for recollection. Held, the witnesses cannot be given any weight. (PC) 5 MIA 146 Babu Kasi Persad Narain v. Mst. Kawal Basi.
Opinion of the trial Court: The trial judge who had the opportunity of seeing the witnesses and hearing them give their evidence was in a much better position to guage the truth and value of the oral evidence than the learned Judge of the High Court. (PC) AIR 1927 PC 266 = 107 IC 349 (1) Arunchala Nayudu v. Balakrishna.
Opinion of trial Court about credibility and character of a witness, who has disbelieved him on important points and had given reasons for doing so, full weight should be given by the appellate Court to such opinion. (SC) PLD 1958 SC (Pak.) 290 Allah Ditta = PLD 1954 FC 171 Muhammad Afsar (SC) 1970 SCMR 857 Din Muhammad.
Opinion of trial Court. Distinction. When you have to deal with a pure question of credibility of witnesses very great weight ought necessarily to be given to the judgment of the Judge who saw the witnesses. There are however two ways in which one may approach the question of credibility. When the question is whether the witness is speaking the truth or not, light is thrown upon it by the demeanour that witness in the box by the manner in which he answerers questions thee put to him and so on. No doubt there the trial Judge has the advantage which possibly cannot be shared by any appellate Court. But when the views on credibility are founded upon argumentative inference from facts which are not disputed, then the Court of appeal is really in just as good a position as the Judge of first instance. (PC) 70 IC 949 = PC 315 = 27 CW 414. Palchur Snakare Reddi v. Palchur Mahalaksmana.
Parrot like statements of witnesses thoroughly drilled and well tutored with are almost verbatim reproductions of their police statements as well as those of each other at the trial can be justifiably rejected only when material discrepancies come into conflict with natural probabilities that militate against their credibility. (SC) PLJ 1975 SC 170. Abdur Rashid v. Umaid Ali.
Parrot like narrative; witnesses giving parrot like statements as made by another witness who did not inspire confidence. Such ocular evidence disbelieved. (DB) NLR 1981 Cr. 481 Muhammad Fazil etc.
Photographic narration of injuries caused by each accused, by witnesses, held, such description not possible. Such narration was result of tutoring, warranting strong corroboration. 1988 SCMR 579. Nawab Khan etc.
Non-intervention by empty handed eye-witnesses would not react on evidentiary value of their testimony. There was nothing odd in explanation of witnesses as reaction of each human being varies during an attack. (DB) NLR 1990 Cr. 189 Shahadat etc.
Conduct of unarmed witnesses in not interfering or catching the assailants who were armed with deadly weapons was a normal conduct. 1992 SCMR 793, Rab Rakhio etc.
P.Ws. getting no support from independent circumstances, held, circumstances of the case leave o alternative except to extend benefit of doubt to the accused and to acquit them. PLD 1983 SC 197 Manzoor Ahmad.
Statement against probabilities and not fitting with other evidence and failing to inspire confidence, such evidence cannot sustain conviction u/s. 302, PPC. (DB) NLR 1985 Cr. 717. Bashir.
Tazkia Al-Shahood procedure in case of Had: No express manner of verification is prescribed. The procedure is left to the Qazi. (1) There must be evidence of victim followed by at lest 2 witnesses. (2) In case of discrepancies on vital aspects between the two witnesses both shall be rejected. (3) Tazkia Al-Shahood is a condition precedent to impose the sentence of Had. (4) There should be one or more "Muzaki" (a person who testifies about the truthfulness of the witness). (5) The Muzaki should be present when the witness gives evidence. (6) It is the resistibility of the Court to satisfy itself about the credibility of a witness and it can for that matter select an open or a secret mode of inquiry or both. (7) The Court may frame a questionnaire on which the Muzaki should collect information to supply to the Court. (8) The Court should also examine the Muzaki for he submits his report. (9) The Court should ask searching questions from the witness and cross-examine him to discover facts which might show his credibility, piety or otherwise. PLD 1990 FSC 38 Mumtaz Ahmad etc. PLJ 1990 FSC 69.
Tazkia Al-Shahood under Art. 17 Qanun-e-Shahadat. Principle of purgation of witnesses is relevant only to the cases of had and has nothing to do with cases of taazir. PLD 1992 Lah. 45. Allah Ditta.