Supreme Court Upholds Murder Conviction Despite Discrepancy in Doctor’s and Eyewitness Evidence


LI Network

Published on: February 6, 2024 at 14:16 IST

The Supreme Court has recently affirmed a murder conviction, dismissing the notion of setting it aside solely due to a mismatch between the evidence provided by the eyewitness and that offered by a doctor.

Justices Abhay S. Oka and Pankaj Mithal, on the Bench, ruled that when ocular evidence sufficiently establishes the guilt of the accused, conflicting expert opinions cannot invalidate the conviction.

In a departure from the concurrent findings of the High Court and Trial Court, the Supreme Court maintained that expert opinions suggesting the possibility of different weapons being used should not discredit the eyewitness testimony.

The case involved allegations that three accused individuals formed an unlawful assembly outside the deceased’s house, assaulting the family with a chopper, resulting in the death of the deceased and serious injuries to others.

The accused contended that the doctor’s suggestion of alternative weapons should lead to the conviction being set aside.

However, the Court rejected this argument, emphasizing that the doctor’s opinion based on probability cannot undermine the credibility of eyewitnesses.

The Court noted that the doctor ultimately acknowledged that all wounds could have been caused by the chopper.

The Court observed that all accused members formed an unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapons, attracting Section 149 of the Indian Penal Code.

It further stated that the testimony of the deceased’s wife and daughter, though considered interested witnesses, was the best evidence, given the circumstances of the incident taking place inside their house with no other eyewitnesses.

The Court highlighted that ocular evidence proving the use of a chopper as the weapon of crime prevailed over the doctor’s opinion, as the latter was based on probability and weaker compared to the eyewitness testimony.

As a result, the Court dismissed the criminal appeal, asserting that no errors were found in the lower courts’ findings.

The judgment reinforces the principle that the strength of ocular evidence can outweigh conflicting expert opinions, ensuring justice based on the totality of the circumstances.

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