A successful appeal against a charge of murder
The applicant was arrested for murder together with three others in June 2003. The prosecution’s case against the applicant was based on: the fact that the applicant was arrested at the same location as the other accused; evidence gathered after the petitioner’s arrest; and the evidence of one witness. Following the examination of each of these items, legal evidence to implicate the complicity of the applicant was not found. All charges were dropped against the applicant.
Case Details and Status
The applicant was arrested for murder together with three others in June 2003. The prosecution’s case against the applicant was based on: >
- The fact that the applicant was arrested at the same location as the other accused
- The applicant’s disclosure of involvement to the police soon after arrest
- The evidence of one Sulochana Naresh Badiyani, according to whom the applicant visited her house the day prior to the murder in the company of one of the other accused and two other people aged 20-22 years.
The applicant had approached the trial court for discharge but this application was rejected mainly on the grounds of the first and third above points.
The High Court found that the approach of the trial judge could not be sustained for the following reasons:
- That merely because the applicant was arrested along with the co-accused, by itself, could not establish the guilt of the applicant
- As a statement made before the police by the accused, the applicant’s disclosure of involvement could not by itself be used as the basis to proceed against the accused. It was also accepted by the respondents that the statement was not confessional in nature. Further, the statement did not form part of the documents submitted with the final report by the investigating officer on the basis of which the court was expected to frame a charge
- The statement by Sulochana Naresh Badiyani only disclosed that one of the co-accused, Bhavesh, visited her house on the day prior to the murder in the company of three other people aged 20-22 years. There was no clarification about the description of these three other people and no identity parade was held.
The charges framed against the applicant were dropped on the basis that there was no legal evidence to indicate his complicity in the murder.
Orders and Documents