A person cannot be convicted on the basis of statements recorded during investigation, says Madras HC – The Hindu

Chennai News

It says a person cannot be convicted on the basis of statements recorded during investigation

It says a person cannot be convicted on the basis of statements recorded during investigation

The Madras High Court on Friday set aside the conviction and life sentence imposed by a trial court in a murder case. It held that it would not be safe to convict the accused when all independent witnesses, including the eyewitnesses and recovery witnesses, had turned hostile during their examination before the trial court.

Justices S. Vaidyanathan and A.D. Jagadish Chandira held that the trial court had misled itself into a “specious” reasoning that there was corroboration between the medical evidence and the statements of the witnesses recorded by a magistrate, during the course of investigation, under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.PC).

The judges said they could not endorse the reasoning given by the trial court to render a conviction against the appellant since the Supreme Court had ruled that a statement recorded by a magistrate during the course of investigation under Section 164 could not be equated with a statement recorded under oath during a judicial proceeding.

Therefore, the judgment of conviction and sentence rendered by the Additional District and Sessions Court in Vellore on September 11, 2018 was liable to be set aside and the appellant was entitled to be acquitted of all charges, the Bench said. It set him at liberty and ordered refunding of the fine amount paid by him.

According to the prosecution, the appellant Siva was a married man who has two daughters. Yet, he was in a live-in relationship with Chinnaponnu of Thiruvalam in Vellore district. He had reportedly forced Chinnaponnu to gift her house to his daughters and this led to a complaint of harassment lodged against him before an all-women police station.

Enraged by the complaint filed by Chinnaponnu, he had hit her with a wooden log and used a knife to cause bleeding injuries. The crime was reportedly witnessed by Chinnaponnu’s niece and two of her neighbours. The police recovered the material evidence through other witnesses.

However, both these eyewitnesses as well as recovery witnesses turned hostile during the trial. Only the official witnesses, which included the police and the forensic experts, had supported the prosecution case. Yet, the trial court recorded conviction by corroborating the 164 statements of witnesses with the medical evidence.

Source: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/a-person-cannot-be-convicted-on-the-basis-of-statements-recorded-during-investigation-says-madras-hc/article65674186.ece