Identification parade unnecessary where witness knew suspect
(4) The victim due to time and circumstances must not have had full opportunity of observing the feature of the accused”.
The appellant confessed to the commission of the crime and not only that he was arrested shortly after the commission of the offence and the stolen goods were found with him. It was therefore unnecessary to conduct an identification parade and also investigate the alibi set up by the appellant. The trial court properly invoked the doctrine of recent possession to fix the appellant with the commission of the offence. The appellant had an explanation to give as to how he came into possession of the stolen items so soon after the robber)- was committed. The lower court was right to conclude that -
“if the object of identification is to test the ability of a witness to pick out from a group the person, given the circumstance of this case, this Court agrees with the submission of the respondent on issue 1 that identification parade was not necessary, or a prerequisite to the investigation of the allegation against the appellant”.
The plea of alibi though timeously raised was rightly rejected because the appellant was found in the vicinity of the crime shortly after the robbery and not only that he was found in possession of the stolen items.
Having been found in possession of the stolen goods, the learned trial Judge was right to invoke section 167(a) Evidence Act to presume that the appellant was either the robber or knew that the goods were stolen when he came into possession. The section stipulates as follows:
“167 The Court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct and public and private business, in their relation to the facts of the particular case and in particular the Court may presume (a)that a man who is in possession of stolen goods after the theft is the thief or has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession.”
The prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt to warrant the conviction of the appellant. His conviction was rightly affirmed by the lower court.
All the issues raised in the appeal are resolved against the appellant I find that there is no merit in the appeal and it is accordingly dismissed. The substituted sentence of life imprisonment imposed by the lower court on the appellant in place of the death sentence pronounced by the trial Judge is also affirmed.