COURT OF APPEALHECTOR YAP A, J.
CA 98/96HC MATARA 83/95APRIL 28th, 2000MAY 2nd, 2000
Penal Code – Murder ■ Stabbing – Medical experts states injuries inflictedby a blunt weapon – Dying declarations – Is it safe to base a conviction formurder solely upon a dying declaration.
The Accused who was indicted for murder was found guilty of culpablehomicide not amounting to murder. The Trial Judge directed the Jurythat the case rests solely on the three dying declarations. In appeal it wascontended that the direction given to the Jury emphasising the sanctityattached to a dying declaration is not the correct exposition of the lawrelating to the admissibility of dying depositions, and that the Trial Judgefailed to direct the Jury to look for factors that would tend to corroboratea dying deposition and further the Trial Judge failed to adequately directthe Jury with regard to the inherent weaknesses in the evidence led.
The classical view of sanctity attached to a dying declaration hadbeen placed before the Jury by the Trial Judge in a more emphaticlanguage, thus causing much prejudice to the accused appellant's case.
Ordinarily it is not safe to base a conviction for murder solely upona dying declaration. The evidence of the Medical Expert vis-a-vis thedying declaration made, serious doubt arises as to the truthfulness of theutterances itself which speaks of stabbing with a knife, in the postmortem report there isn’t a single stab injury.
The medical evidence not only contradicts the dying declaration butin fact demolishes it in toto. The jury had not received adequate evidenceon this vital point.
APPEAL from the Judgment of the High Court of Matara.
RANJITH v. STATE