Question: At the trial of A for the murder of her husband B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that A is in the habit of poisoning people. Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible. [HR.J.S. 1998] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [At the trial of… Read More »

Question: At the trial of A for the murder of her husband B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that A is in the habit of poisoning people. Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible. [HR.J.S. 1998] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [At the trial of A for the murder of her husband B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that A is in the habit of poisoning people. Discuss fully whether the...

Question: At the trial of A for the murder of her husband B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that A is in the habit of poisoning people. Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible. [HR.J.S. 1998]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [At the trial of A for the murder of her husband B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that A is in the habit of poisoning people. Discuss fully whether the evidence offered is admissible.]

Answer

As Phipson says, the principle on which evidence of similar acts is admissible is not to show that because the defendant has committed one crime therefore he would be likely to commit another but to establish the animus of the act and rebut, by anticipation, the obvious defences, of ignorance, accident, mistake or another innocent state of mind.

The evidence relating to the state of mind of a person as dealt with under section 14, IEA must show that the state of mind exists not generally but in reference to the particular matter in question. Evidence of general disposition, habit, or tendencies is inadmissible as held in Emperor v. Gangaram, (1920) 22 Bom LR 1274.

Therefore, in the present case at hand, where A is at trial for the murder of B, A’s general habit of poisoning people is irrelevant by virtue of explanation1 appended to section 14, Indian Evidence Act.

For example, (p) A is tried for the murder of B by intentionally shooting him dead. The fact that A on other occasions shot at B is relevant as showing his intention to shoot B. The fact that A was in the habit of shooting at people with the intent to murder them is irrelevant.

Explanation 1 to section 14- A fact relevant as showing the existence of a relevant state of mind must show that the state of mind exists, not generally, but in reference to the particular matter in question.

The explanation is based on the maxim of Res Inter Alios Асtаtе which implies that inferences are not to be drawn from one transaction to another which is not specifically connected with it, merely because the two resemble each other as a matter of fact. They must be linked together by the chain of cause and effect in some reasonable manner before an inference may be drawn.

A fact in issue cannot be proved by showing that facts similar to it, but not part of the same transaction, have occurred at other times. Thus, when the question is whether a person has committed a crime, the fact that he had committed a similar crime some time ago is irrelevant.

Therefore, in the present case at hand, when at the trial of A for the murder of her husband B by administering arsenic to him, the evidence is offered to show that A is in the habit of poisoning people such evidence becomes irrelevant.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-09-19T07:58:05+05:30
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