Burden in a criminal case | Shifting of burden from prosecution to the accused

                        PLD 2020 Supreme Court 201

                     Prosecution—Burden of proof—Scope—Burden, in a criminal case, to prove the guilt of the accused was always on the prosecution—Court, in the first instance, was to discuss and assess the prosecution evidence, in order to arrive at the conclusion as to whether or not the prosecution had succeeded in proving the charge against the accused on the basis of its evidence.
Art. 121—Criminal trial—Defence plea—Shifting of burden from prosecution to the accused—Scope—Burden shifted upon the accused under Art.121 of the Qanun-e-Shahadat, 1984 to prove his defence plea, only when a prima facie case was made out against him by the prosecution on the basis of its evidence—If the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused, the question of shifting of burden on the accused did not arise.
Defence plea—Examination of such plea by the court—Scope—Burden of proof—Scope—In a case where the accused had not taken any specific plea (e.g. self defence, grave and sudden provocation etc.) or had not produced any evidence in his defence, the court was to decide the question of success or failure of the prosecution in proving the charge against the accused on the basis of the prosecution evidence alone—Where the accused had taken a specific plea or had produced evidence in his defence, then the court was to appraise the prosecution case and the defence version in juxtaposition, in order to arrive at a just conclusion—Even in such situation the burden remained on the prosecution to prove the necessary ingredients of the offence charged against the accused, and it did not shift upon the accused merely by taking a defence plea or producing evidence in his defence.
S. 302—Qatl-i-amd—Defence plea of sudden and grave provocation—Court was not to examine such defence plea in isolation from the prosecution evidence—Approach adopted by court of not appraising the prosecution evidence at all and convicting an accused, under S. 302(b), P.P.C., on the basis of its finding that he had failed to establish his defence plea of grave and sudden provocation was contrary to the law declared by the Supreme Court in the cases of Wali Muhammad v. State 1969 SCMR 612 and Ashiq Hussain v. State 1993 SCMR 417—Accused could not be convicted on the ground that his defence plea appeared unconvincing—Prosecution was duty bound to prove its case against the accused beyond reasonable doubt on the basis of its own evidence and was not absolved of this duty even if the accused had taken a defence plea.

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