Evidence In A Trial Against An Accused Does Not Have Any Bearing Upon A Co-Accused In A Separate Trial For The Commission Of Same Offence: Supreme Court

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Evidence In A Trial Against An Accused Does Not Have Any Bearing Upon A Co-Accused In A Separate Trial For The Commission Of Same Offence

Case: AT Mydeen vs. Assistant Commissioner, Customs Department

Coram: Justices DY Chandrachud, Vikram Nath and BV Nagarathna

Case No.: CrA 1306 OF 2021

Court Observation: The provisions of law and the essence of case-laws, as discussed above, give a clear impression that in the matter of a criminal trial against any accused, the distinctiveness of evidence is paramount in light of accused’s right to fair trial, which encompasses two important facets along with others i.e., firstly, the recording of evidence in the presence of accused or his pleader and secondly, the right of accused to cross-examine the witnesses. These facts are, of course, subject to exceptions provided under law. In other words, the culpability of any accused cannot be decided on the basis of any evidence, which was not recorded in his presence or his pleader’s presence and for which he did not get an opportunity of cross-examination, unless the case falls under exceptions of law, as noted above.

The essence of the above synthesis is that evidence recorded in a criminal trial against any accused is confined to the culpability of that accused only and it does not have any bearing upon a co-accused, who has been tried on the basis of evidence recorded in a separate trial, though for the commission of the same offence.

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