ISLAMABAD - Supreme Court judge Dost Muhammad has ruled that it is essential for courts to deeply scrutinize circumstantial evidence to carry conviction on charge of capital murder.

The judge gave the ruling in a murder case whose judgment was issued on Friday. He said that the prosecution has to establish the case beyond all reasonable doubts, resting on circumstantial evidence. “Reasonable doubt does not mean any doubt but it must be accompanied by such reasons, sufficient to persuade a judicial mind for placing reliance on it,” the judge said.

“If it is short of such standard, it is better to discard the same so that an innocent person might not be sent to gallows,” the judge said. He said to draw an inference of guilt from circumstantial evidence the court has to apply its judicial mind with deep thought and with extra care and caution. He said that the courts also need to keep in mind that sometimes the investigating agency collects circumstantial evidence which seems apparently believable, however, if the strict standards of scrutiny are applied there would appear many cracks and doubts and, in such a case, the courts have to discard and disbelieve such evidence.

“In murder cases, the prosecution is under the legal obligation to fulfill some fundamental principles. The proximity of the crime scene plays a vital role; the timing that the deceased was last seen with the accused and subsequently leading to his murder,” said the judge.  “There must be some motive on the part of the accused to kill the person (deceased). The quick reporting of the matter without any undue delay is essential; the circumstantial evidence of the last seen must be corroborated by an independent evidence, coming from the unimpeachable source,” Justice Dost Muhammad said.

He said that the recovery of the weapon from the accused and the opinion of the expert must be carried out in a transparent and fair manner to exclude all possible doubts. “The court has also to seriously consider that whether the deceased was having any contributory role in the cause of his death inviting the trouble and if it was not a pre-planned and calculated murder,” he said.