Case BriefsHigh Courts

Uttaranchal High Court: Ravindra Maithani, J., dismissed an appeal filed under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 against the order passed in Criminal Revision No. 66 of 2016, Hemant Chaudhary v. Poonam Rani.

Respondents had filed complaint against the petitioners for the offences punishable under Sections 120B, 406, 420, 384, 504 and 506 of Penal Code, 1860 according to which petitioner’s 2 and 3 had persuaded the respondent 2 to marry with petitioner 1 and very hurriedly both were got married and after marriage respondent 2 noticed that petitioner 1 would speak to some person at odd hours and after inquiry, it was found that the petitioner was already married and a complaint was made and the trial court had dismissed the complaint which was yet again challenged in criminal revision where the trial court had directed to take the matter afresh.

The Court while dismissing the petition relied on the evidence that had been presented like that of the photographs and recorded the conversation and also the admission of the petitioners of the fact that the petitioner was already married thus the trial court was right in observing that an offence punishable under Section 494 was committed.[Poonam Rani v. State of Uttarakhand, 2020 SCC OnLine Utt 82, decided on 03-01-2020]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: L.T.B. Dehideniya, J., S. Thurairaja, PC, J. and E.A.G.R. Amarasekara, J., allowed an appeal concerning an order against the Provincial High Court of Balapitiya.

The Accused – Appellant was charged before the Magistrate Court on two counts punishable under Section 400 and 386 of the Penal Code respectively for committing the offences of cheating and misappropriation of the sum of Rs 80,000. The Magistrate found the Accused-Appellant guilty on first and second counts and imposed Rs 5000 fine in-default 2 months Rigorous Imprisonment and 2 years Rigorous Imprisonment for the first count and 2 years rigorous imprisonment for the second count. The High Court Judges hearing the arguments found that, the Accused-Appellant not guilty on the 2nd count and acquitted him. Being dissatisfied with the order of the High Court Judge the Accused- Appellant preferred this appeal to the Supreme Court.

The Court while allowing the appeal explained that it was mandatory for the Judge to analyse the entire evidence before the Court and to find whether the ingredients are proved beyond a reasonable doubt. But, in this case, neither the Magistrate nor the High Court Judge had followed the basic evaluation of facts and standard of proof. It is also noted that both the Magistrate and High Court Judge had not properly analyzed the dock statement, thus there was no case proved against the accused-appellant beyond reasonable doubt hence finding the sentence bad in law. [Meegastennage Prince Gunawardena v. Attorney General of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, SC Appeal No. 42 of 2014, decided on 07-11-2019]

Case BriefsForeign Courts

Court of Appeal of Tanzania: The Bench of K.M. Mussa, S.A. Lila and R.K.Mkuye, JJ., decided in an appeal concerning the conviction of the appellant for the offence of “Rape” contrary to Sections 130(1) (2) (e) and 131 (1) of the Penal Code, Cap 16 R.E. 2002.

Appellant was sentenced to life imprisonment and for the said his appeal to the High Court was unsuccessful. Hence, the second appeal.

In the evening of the fateful day, the appellant went to Beatrice Ishiaka’s (PW1) home and took PW1 together with Pascal Mode to the orange farm to harvest oranges. While at the farm the appellant ordered PW1 to sit down and get the money. However, the appellant raped her. Thereafter, PW1 went home and informed her grandmother (PW3) to have been raped by the appellant. The matter was reported to the relevant authorities which led to the appellant’s arrest.

Appellant denied to have raped PW1 and lodged a memorandum of appeal comprising 4 grounds of appeal.

The Court of Appeal while reaching to a conclusion went through the grounds of appeal, facts and the material on record in the most careful manner and stated that

Court is required to be cautious and very slow to disturb the concurrent findings of facts of the two courts below. The Court could only do that if there are completely misapprehensions of the substance, nature and quality of evidence which result into fair conviction.”

Further, the Court on examining the grounds of appeal mentioned by the appellant dealt with only ground number 3 and 4 that touched the “credibility of witnesses” and the “standard of proof”.

Placing reliance on the case of Aloyce Mgovano v. Republic, Criminal Appeal No. 182 of 2011; Court dealt with “credibility of witnesses”. In the said case, Court also cited Shabani Daudi v. Republic, Criminal Appeal No. 28 of 2000; wherein it was stated that,

Credibility of a witness can also be determined in two other ways: one, when assessing the coherence of the testimony of the witness. Two when the testimony of that witness is considered in relation with the evidence of other witnesses, including that of the accused person. In these two other occasions the credibility of a witness can be determined even by a second appellate court when examining the findings of the first appellate court.”

Court stated that evidence of PW1 was taken without the oath. This is a situation where corroboration was required. It is settled law that unsworn evidence most often requires corroboration. Unfortunately, Pascal Mode who was with PW1 did not testify. PW2 and PW3 cannot be taken to corroborate her evidence as their evidence was mere hearsay as regards to who raped PW1. It was also observed that even if PW 3 saw some features suggesting that PW 1 was raped, she could not be in a position to know who did it.

Hence, the Court concluded that, unfortunately, no reasons for failure to call Pascal were given as he was a material witness in the present case which led the Court to agree with appellant and merit was found in the stated grounds. Appeal was allowed and conviction quashed and set aside, with the release of the appellant. [Raphael Mhando v. Republic, 2019 SCC OnLine TZCA 1, Order dated 01-03-2019]