(From previous issue) :
47. It is not at all wise in all cases to find an accused guilty if he remains absconding. Absconding by itself is the conclusive proof of guilt of the accused but it lends weight to the circumstantial evidence against him.
48. In the present case we find three other persons as accused who are close relatives to the convict-accused. One is his wife, then his full brother and third one is his father. All of them appeared in the case and got acquitted at the trial but he did not bother to attend the trial court in the case while they all were put on trial. He obviously knew that his three close relations became involved in the legal battle on a charge of murder. If he was not involved with the crime as alleged by the prosecution, he ought to have faced the trial without any hesitation but he did not do so. Although record shows that all due process of law was exhausted by the court below to bring him in the book but he evaded trial going into hiding. Under such circumstances he cannot say now that he had no knowledge about the case filed by the informant, PW 1. It finds support from the decision in the case of Zakir Hossain vs State, reported in 55 DLR 137 where court opined that,
"Accused remained absconding with clear guilty knowledge about his overt act in the occurrence resulting in the murder and, as such, his absconsion will create adverse opinion against him."
49. The contention of learned defence lawyer is that PWs 1, 7, 8 and 9 are the interested witnesses as they are brother, sisters and father of the victim. In reply to that effect it can be said that when a person comes under an attack by assailant, his nearest relatives will come forward to save and look after him, is quite natural.
50. In the instant case we find PWs -7, 8 and 9 on hearing hue and cry rushed to the place of occurrence soon after and saw the incident on their own eyes partially. Interested witness by itself cannot be a good ground to discard the evidence if one is found to be a truthful witness and telling the truth. It finds support from the decision in the case of State vs Ful Mia, reported in 5 BLC (AD) 41, in which our Apex Court opined that,
"The evidence of eye-witnesses cannot be discarded on the ground that they are interested witnesses and such evidence is admissible in evidence if they are found to be truthful witnesses and telling the truth."
51. The evidence of all prosecution live witnesses is found consistent, uniform and corroborative with each other in all material particulars. They consistently prove the time, place [exhibits-4 and 5] and manner of the occurrence. No discrepancy is found in respect of time, place and manner of the occurrence.
There is nothing to disbelieve in evidence of the competent witnesses of the prosecution case. More so, it has been corroborated by material exhibits-I, l(a), l(b) and also post-mortem examination report. And as such, it can be safely said that prosecution has been able to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt by the impartial and unbiased witnesses.
52. Learned State Defence Lawyer appearing for the accused has contended lastly that court has ample power to .give lesser sentence instead of death penalty if the prosecution case is proved beyond all reasonable doubt. In the present· case, the alleged hasuya" used by the accused in the attack of the victim was not recovered and that is why the same was not produced before the court. The investigating officer of the case did not make any attempt to recover the alleged weapon from any places. He ought to have carried out such vision for the interest of proper investigation. More. s6, the victim of the case died four days after the occurrence.
53. However, it is very difficult task on the part of a judge to decide what would be the quantum of sentence to be awarded upon an accused for committing an offence. We find some support from the decision in the case of Nawshar Ali Sarder vs State, reported in 39 DLR (AD) 194 [para 11] their Lordships opined that, "Section 302 which punishes 'murder' does not specify in which case death sentence should be given and in which case transportation for life to be awarded, but leaves the matter to the discretion of the court, Every case should be considered m the facts and circumstances of that case only".
54. Considering the decisions cited above, the testimonies on record and the facts and circumstances of the case we are of the view that justice will be met if the impugned judgment and order of conviction and sentence of death to accused Md Nazrul Islam is altered and reduced to imprisonment for life instead of death.
55. In the result, the Death Reference is rejected and the order of sentence of death passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Kushtia against the condemned-accused Md Nazrul Islam finding him guilty under Section 302 of the Penal Code is commuted to imprisonment for life with a fine of Taka 5,000 (five thousand) in default, to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 6 (six) months more.
Let a copy of this judgment and order along with lower court records be sent to the learned sessions Judge, Kushtia for information and necessary action at once.