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Daniel Syiemiong v. State of Meghalaya

Murder Trial – Son killed his father – Accused made a statement that he could no longer bear the ill treatment meted out to his mother, brother and sister by his father and losing control attacked him by hitting him on his head with an iron rod and had no intention to kill his father – The accused asserted before the trial judge that he did not show any iron rod to the police or to any other person as he did not hit his father with an iron rod but hit him with a firewood and do not know how and why the police seized the iron rod – In the light of the lucid clarification issued by the accused in the course of his two statements rendered under Section 313 of the Code and the detailed description of the incident, there can be no doubt that it was the accused who killed his father by striking him with a firewood that he found lying in the nearby verandah – the reference to the iron rod is in the statement of the accused recorded before the Magistrate under Section 164 of the Code. The statement was recorded in Khasi language and the translated version of the statement appears from the records –  the accused may have no formal education as he stated that he had not been sent to any school by his father. The description of a firewood stick and an iron rod may be similar in Khasi language – In the light of the clear, unambiguous and detailed description of the incident given by the accused in the course of his statement under Section 313 of the Code and the post-mortem report corroborating the nature of the injuries and cause of death which are in tune with the injuries that the accused himself admitted to have inflicted on his father – When the facts are as clear as in the present case, there is hardly any scope to interfere with the conclusion drawn from such facts by the trial court or the sentence rendered as a consequence.

Citation : 2022 Cri. L.J. 1594


HIGH COURT OF MEGHALAYA AT SHILLONG
Sanjib Banerjee, CJ; W. Diengdoh, J.
Crl.A.(J)No.1/2019; 08.02.2022
Daniel Syiemiong Vs. State of Meghalaya & anr
Coram: Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Chief Justice Hon’ble Mr. Justice W. Diengdoh, Judge

Appearance: For the Petitioner/Appellant(s) : Mr. P Yobin, Legal Aid Counsel; For the Respondent(s) : Mr. ND Chullai, AAG with Mr. S Sen Gupta, Addl.PP

J U D G M E N T

Sanjib Banerjee, CJ;

The appeal arises out of a judgment of conviction dated March 28, 2019 and the consequential order of punishment.

2. On July 3, 2002 a younger brother of the victim lodged a complaint at the Umiam police station to the effect that Tonsing Kharumnuid was missing from July 1, 2002 and that the complainant had come to learn that the person was “killed by his own son Daniel Syiemiong.”

3. It transpires from the records that the appellant made a confessional statement before the police and was produced before the Magistrate for a statement to be recorded under Section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. The appellant also confessed to having committed the crime in the course of the two statements rendered by him under section 313 of the Code. It appears that the second Section 313 statement was obtained upon the evidence rendered by each witness being explained in more elaborate detail to the accused to elicit a response in such regard.

4. In the statement recorded under Section 164 of the Code before the Magistrate, the accused made a statement to the effect that he had killed his father on July 1, 2002 at about 2 am “by hitting him on his head with an iron rod and he died on the spot.” The appellant went on to say that the dead body “was placed by me in a gunny bag and taken to the garden” and, upon the appellant digging a pit, the body was buried in such pit.

5. In the course of initial statement under Section 313 of the Code following the trial judge ascertaining from the appellant whether he had heard the entire evidence against him, the appellant made a statement that he could no longer bear the ill treatment meted out to his mother, brother and sister by his father and “losing control I attacked him and had no intention to kill my father.” To another question in the course of the first statement under Section 313 of the Code the appellant replied that he would not adduce any evidence. In the subsequent statement recorded on January 22, 2017, the appellant herein described how he and his mother were ill-treated by the appellant’s father and how the appellant “started hating my father for his ill treatment towards my mother and other siblings.”

6. In response to the second question put to the appellant, he claimed that he did not intend to kill his father and went on to describe the circumstances in which he came to hit his father in great detail. According to such statement, the appellant had gone to watch television at a friend’s place in a nearby village and when he returned on the fateful night he saw bloodstains on the floor of the verandah. The appellant claimed that he heard his father coming out of from the kitchen threatening his mother and “murmuring that he will cut my mother into pieces today …” The appellant says that he was scared and angry and he picked up a firewood from the verandah and “struck on the ear of my father twice …” He claimed that he did not remember where he threw the firewood as he fled towards the jungle, that he returned later and found his father lying on the floor and upon discovering that his father was dead, “I dragged my father to our garden and took a spade … and buried him in the garden …”

7. The appellant claimed to have returned to his grandmother’s place, where she usually stayed, and reported the incident to the grandmother, whereupon the grandmother advised the appellant to surrender before the police. The appellant also claimed that he had admitted his guilt before the police and had informed the police that he kept the body in a gunny bag and led the police to the place where he had buried his father.

8. A specific question was put to the appellant, based on the initial investigating officer’s evidence that an iron rod was recovered from the house of the appellant at the instance of the appellant and that such iron rod was the murder instrument. (Incidentally, it must be recorded that the relevant iron rod was not produced in the course of the trial.) The appellant asserted before the trial judge that he did not show any iron rod to the police or to any other person as he did not hit his father with an iron rod but “I hit him with a firewood … (and) … do not know how and why the police seized the iron rod.”

9. Several witnesses were called, including the wife of the victim who is the mother of the appellant herein. Even though such witness said that the appellant herein had murdered his father, she claimed not to have witnessed the incident. It is understandable that the lady was torn between an abusive husband who had been murdered and her affection for her eldest child who may have relieved her of the continuing torment.

10. The two younger sisters of the victim were also called as witnesses but there is nothing of note in their statements even though they claimed that the appellant had admitted to his guilt. Nothing turns on the evidence of such witnesses or even of the second investigating officer.

11. The post-mortem report indicated injuries to the face and head and the cause of death was said to be internal haemorrhage suffered by the victim together with shock. The doctor was examined and corroborated the opinion that he had rendered in the report.

12. On the basis of the material before the trial court, there was little doubt that it was the appellant who had committed the offence in a fit of rage and the appellant had repeatedly confessed to having committed the offence. The perceived anomalies stressed upon on behalf of the appellant are of no consequence and can be attributed to failing recollection of some of the witnesses or the over-zealousness on the part of the police in producing a murder instrument.

13. De hors the confession by the appellant and the clarification on the aspect of the recovery of the iron rod, there may have been some ground to address the anomaly pertaining to the murder weapon. However, in the light of the lucid clarification issued by the appellant in the course of his two statements rendered under Section 313 of the Code and the detailed description of the incident, there can be no doubt that it was the appellant who killed his father by striking him with a firewood that he found lying in the nearby verandah.

14. There is another aspect of the matter that requires to be dealt with, particularly since the reference to the iron rod is in the statement of the appellant recorded before the Magistrate under Section 164 of the Code. The statement was recorded in Khasi language and the translated version of the statement appears from the records. It must also be remembered that the appellant may have no formal education as he stated that he had not been sent to any school by his father. The description of a firewood stick and an iron rod may be similar in Khasi language. At any rate, no further time needs to be wasted on this aspect. In the light of the clear, unambiguous and detailed description of the incident given by the appellant in the course of his statement under Section 313 of the Code and the post-mortem report corroborating the nature of the injuries and cause of death which are in tune with the injuries that the appellant himself admitted to have inflicted on his father.

15. Further, there is no doubt that it is the appellant who led the police to the place where he buried his father and the body was exhumed from a corner of the garden outside the family residence.

16. In the light of the facts as they presented themselves before the trial court and the appellant’s description of the incident, there does not appear to be any scope to doubt that it was the appellant who had killed his father in a fit of rage. The motive was clear, the circumstances that led the appellant being enraged comes out from the appellant’s description of what transpired on the fateful night of July 1, 2002.

17. When the facts are as clear as in the present case, there is hardly any scope to interfere with the conclusion drawn from such facts by the trial court or the sentence rendered as a consequence.

18. Accordingly, Crl.A.(J)No.1 of 2019 is dismissed without interfering with the judgment and order under appeal dated March 28, 2019. Let a copy of this judgment and order be immediately made available to the appellant free of cost.

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