Topic: Murari v. State of Madhya Pradesh

Murari v. State of Madhya Pradesh
Equivalent citations: 1980 AIR 531, 1980 SCR (2) 249 - Bench: Reddy, O. Chinnappa (J) - Citation: 1980 AIR 531, 1980 SCR (2) 249, 1980 SCC  (1) 704 -  Citator Info: R 1992 Sc2100(30) - Date of Judgment: 21/11/1979

     Evidence Act-Expert  opinion-Testimony  of     handwriting
expert-If  could  not  be  accepted  without  corroboration-
Opinion evidence-Its nature-Explained.

     The  appellant   was  charged   with  the     offence  of
committing the    murder of the deceased. The two vital pieces
of evidence on which he was convicted were : (1) recovery of
a wrist watch which belonged to the deceased at the instance
of the    appellant and  (2) a note written in pencil in Hindi
found by  the side  of the  deadman  on     the  night  of     the
occurrence stating  "Though we    have passed B.A. we have not
secured any  employment because     there is none to care. This
is the consequence".
     He was  convicted under s. 302, I.P.C. and sentenced to
death. On  appeal the High Court altered the conviction from
s. 302 to s. 302 read with s. 34, I.P.C.

     In appeal    to this     Court it was contended on behalf of the appellant that it was not permissible in law to act upon uncorroborated opinion    evidence of a handwriting expert and that the  High Court fell into a serious error in attempting to compare  the writing     with the  admitted writing  of     the appellant; (2)    the appellant could not be the author of the note because  while he was not even a matriculate the author described himself  as a     graduate and  that a  murderer     and robber would  not have    left behind a note of the kind found by the side of the dead man.
     Dismissing the appeal,
     HELD :  1. An  expert is  no accomplice.  There  is  no justification for  condemning  the  opinion-evidence  of  an expert    to  the     same  class  of  evidence  as    that  of  an accomplice  and      insist  upon     corroboration.      The    view occasionally expressed    that it would be hazardous to base a conviction solely  on the  opinion of  an expert-handwriting expert or  any    other  kind  of     expert-without     substantial corroboration  is  not,     because  experts  in  general,     are unreliable witnesses,  but because  all     human    judgment  is fallible. The more developed and the more perfect a science, the less  the chance of an incorrect opinion. The science of identification    of   handwriting  unlike   the    science      of identification of  finger prints  which has  attained  near-perfection is  not quite perfect and the risk is, therefore, higher. But that is a far cry from doubting the opinion of a handwriting expert  as an invariable rule and insisting upon substantial  corroboration  in    every  case,  howsoever     the opinion may  be backed by the soundest of reasons. An expert opinion has to be tested by the acceptability of the reasons given by him. An expert deposes and not decides. His duty is to furnish  the judge with the necessary scientific criteria for testing  the accuracy  of his conclusion so as to enable the judge  to form  his     own  independent  judgment  by     the application  of     these    criteria  to  the  facts  proved  in evidence. [253 A-G] 250

     2. There  is no  rule of  law nor    any rule of prudence which has  crystalized into  a    rule  of  law  that  opinion evidence of  a hand-writing  expert must never be acted upon unless substantially  corroborated. But having due regard to the imperfect  nature of  the science  of identification  of handwriting, the  approach should be one of caution. Reasons for the     opinion must  be carefully probed and examined. All other relevant    evidence must  be considered. In appropriate cases, corroboration  may be  sought.  In  cases  where     the reasons for  the opinion  are convincing  and  there  is  no reliable  evidence  throwing  a     doubt,     the  uncorroborated testimony of  a handwriting  expert may     be accepted.  There cannot be  an inflexible  rule on  a matter  which,  in     the ultimate analysis, is no more than a question of testimonial weight. [258 A-D]

     3. Section     73 of    Evidence Act  expressly enables     the court to  compare disputed  writings with admitted or proved writings to  ascertain whether    a writing  is  that  of     the person by  whom it  purports to     have been  written.  If  is hazardous to  do so,  it is  one of  the hazards  to which a judge  and  litigant  must  expose  themselves    whenever  it becomes necessary. In cases where both sides call experts it becomes the  plain duty of the court to compare the writings and come to its  own conclusion.  Where  there     are  expert opinions, they    will aid  the Court. Where there is none the Court will  have to  seek guidance  from some  authoritative text book and the Court's own experience and knowledge. [258 D-G]

     Ram Chander  v. U.P.  State A.I.R.     1957  S.C.  IshwariPrasad Misra  v. Mohammed  Isa [1963]  3, S.C.R. 722; ShashiKumar v.  Subhodh Kumar, A.I.R. 1964 S.C. 529; Fakhruddin v.State of  Madhya Pradesh,  A.I.R. 1967 S.C. 1326=(1967) Crl.L.J. 1197;  Magan Bihari Lal v. State of Punjab, A.I.R. 1977 S.C. 1091, referred to.      In the  instant case  the    courts    below  compared     the disputed  handwriting  with  the  admitted  writing  of     the appellant and  found, in conjunction with the opinion of the expert, that the author of the note was the same person. The appellant was  not able     to say     a word     against the reasons
given by the expert. [259 A]

     (b) The  note was    designed to  lay a  false  trail  by making it  appear that    the murder  and the robbery were the handiwork  of    some  frustrated  and  unemployed  graduates expressing their  resentment against  the  world  which     had shown no regard for their existence. [259 C]      (c) Had the recovery of the wrist watch of the deceased in February,  1973 at the instance of the appellant been the only circumstance  it would  have been    difficult to link it with the  murder which    took place  ten     months     earlier  in April, 1972.  But there     is the     vital circumstance  that  a writing made  by the appellant was found on the table by the side  of  the  deceased     on  the  day  of  occurrence.    This circumstance, coupled  with the     recovery of  the dead man's watch, was  sufficient to  hold him guilty of the offence of which he had man's convicted. [259 G]

CRIMINAL APPELLATE    JURISDICTION :    Criminal Appeal No. 125 of 1975.

Appeal by    Special Leave from the    Judgment and Order dated 15-1-1974 of the Madhya Pradesh High Court in Criminal Appeal No. 903/73.

R. L. Kohli, S. K. Gambhir and Miss B. Ramrakhiani for the Appellant.

H. K. Puri and V. K. Bhat for the Respondent.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by CHINNAPPA REDDY, J.-Murari Lal, who was accused No. 2 before the Sessions Judge, Jabalpur, was convicted under s. 302 I.P.C. and sentenced to death. He was also convicted under s. 460 read with ss. 34, 457, 380, 392, 394 and 397 I.P.C. but sentenced under s. 460 read with s. 34 and s. 394 read with s. 397 only to rigorous imprisonment for a period of 7 years on    each count. On appeal    by Murari Lal and on reference by the learned Sessions Judge, the High Court of Madhya Pradesh    altered the conviction from s. 302 I.P.C. to s. 302    read with s. 34 I.P.C. and substituted the sentence of imprisonment for    life for the    sentence of death. Otherwise the appeal was dismissed. Murari Lal has preferred this appeal by special leave of this Court.

H. D. Sonawala (the deceased) used to live alone in one of the    two `quarters' in the compound of the Parsi Dharamshala at Jabalpur. He was the Area Organiser of Cherak Pharmaceuticals Company of Bombay. On the night of 12-7-1972 he went    out to    dinner at the house of P.W. 2 and returned home at    about midnight. He retired for the    night.    Next morning, his driver PW 9 and his servant P.W. 6 came to the house in the usual course to    attend to their duties. The gate was found locked.    They called out their    master    but there was no response. P.W. 6 who also had a key opened the lock and went inside.    Sonawala was found murdered in his bed. A    first information report was given at    the police station Omti, Jabalpur. The Station House Officer, P.W. 28, came to    the scene, found things in the room strewn about in a pell-mell condition. He seized various articles. One of the articles so seized    was a prescription pad Ex. P. 9. On pages A    to F of Ex. P. 9, there were writings of    the deceased but on page G, there    was a    writing in Hindi in pencil which was as follows :

Translated into English it means :    "Though we have passed B.A., we have not secured any employment because there is none to care. This is the consequence. sd/- Balle Singh." The dead body of Sonawala was sent to the Medical Officer for    post-mortem examination. There was an incised wound on the neck 7 1/2" long, the maximum width of which was 2" of    tissues    and vessels upto the trachea were cut. Trachea was also cut. For several months    after the discovery of the murder,    the investigation made no progress    till 18-2-1973. On that day pursuant to information received in connection with one other case of theft, in which one Roop Chand appeared to be involved, the Station House Officer secured the presence of Petrick (A-1) and questioned. Petrick made a statement and led them to his room from which two choppers and as many as 234 items of stolen property    were seized. We may mention that out of the 234 items so seized, only two    were alleged to belong to Sonawala, one was a tie-pin and the other was a cheque-book. Thereafter, the house of Petrick's father Gabriel was also searched and 310 items    of stolen property were recovered, none of which has anything to do with this case. On 19-2-73, Murari Lal (A-2) said    to be a friend of    Petrick    was questioned. He made a statement and led them to the house of his maternal-uncle Suraj Prasad (A-4). Murari Lal asked his uncle to produce the wrist-watch, which was done. The wrist- watch had some special characteristics of its own and it was later duly identified by unimpeachable evidence as belonging to the deceased. Specimen writings Ex. P. 41 to Ex. P. 54 of Murari Lal were obtained. They were sent to a handwriting and finger-print expert P.W.15    along with the prescription pad Ex.    P. 9,    for his opinion. The expert gave his opinion that the writing in Hindi at    page of    Ex. P.    9 and    the specimen writings of P. 41 to    P. 54 were made by the same person. Petrick, Murari Lal, Gabriel and Suraj Prasad were tried by the learned    Sessions Judge. Suraj Prasad    was acquitted. Gabriel was convicted under s. 411. Petrick and Murari Lal were both convicted under    s. 302    I.P.C.    and sentenced to death as    already mentioned. The sentence of death passed on Petrick and Murari Lal was    altered to imprisonment for life by the High Court. Petrick has not further appealed but Murari Lal has.

The two vital circumstances against Murari Lal were: (1) the    recovery of a wrist-watch which belonged to    the deceased Sonawala and (2) the writing in Hindi at page G of Ex. P.    9, which was found    to be    in his    handwriting indicating his    presence in the house of the deceased on the night of the murder and his participation in the commission of the    offences. Shri    R. C. Kohli, learned counsel for the appellant, argued that the recovery of the wrist-watch was too remote in point of time to connect the appellant with the crime. He further argued that the High Court fell into a grave error in concluding that the writing at page G of Ex. P. 9 was that    of the    appellant. He    submitted that    the evidence of P.W. 8 who claimed to be    familiar with    the handwriting of    the appellant was wholly unacceptable, that it was not permissible in law to act upon the uncorroborated opinion-evidence of the expert    P.W. 15 and that the High Court fell into a serious error in attempting to compare the writing in Ex. P. 9 with the admitted writing of    the appellant.

We will first consider the argument, a stale argument often heard, particularly in    criminal courts, that    the opinion-evidence of a handwriting expert should not be acted upon without substantial corroboration. We shall presently point out how the argument cannot be justified on principle or precedent. We begin    with observation that the expert is no accomplice.    There is no justification for condemning his opinion-evidence to the same class of evidence as that of an accomplice and    insist upon corroboration. True, it    has occasionally been said on very high authority that it would be hazardous to base a conviction solely on the opinion of a handwriting expert. But, the hazard in accepting the opinion of any    expert, handwriting expert or    any other kind of expert, is not because experts, in general, are unreliable witnesses-the quality of credibility or incredibility being one which an expert shares with all other witnesses-, but because all human judgment is fallible and an expert may go wrong because of some    defect of observation, some error of premises or honest mistake of conclusion. The more developed and the    more perfect a science, the less the chance of an incorrect opinion and the converse if    the science is less developed and imperfect. The science of identification of finger-prints has attained near perfection and the risk of an incorrect opinion is practically non-existent. On    the other hand, the science of identification of handwriting is not nearly so perfect    and the    risk is, therefore, higher. But that is a    far cry    from doubting    the opinion of a handwriting expert as an invariable rule and insisting upon substantial corroboration in    every case, howsoever    the opinion may be backed    by the    soundest of reasons. It is hardly fair to an expert to view his opinion with an initial suspicion and to treat    him as an inferior sort of witness. His opinion has to be tested    by the    acceptability of the reasons given by him. An expert deposes and not decides. His duty `is to furnish the judge with the necessary scientific criteria for testing the accuracy of his conclusion, so as to enable the judge to form his own independent judgment by the application    of these criteria to    the facts proved in evidence'. (vide Lord President Cooper in Dacie v. Edinbeagh Magistrate : 1953 S. C. 34 quoted by Professor Cross in his Evidence).

From the earliest    times,    courts    have received    the opinion of experts. As    long ago as 1553 it was said in Buckley v. Rice-Thomas(1) :

"If matters arise in    our law which concern other sciences or faculties, we commonly apply for the aid of that science or faculty which it    concerns. This is a commendable thing    in our    law. For thereby it appears that we do not dismiss all other    sciences but our own, but we approve of them and encourage them as things worthy of commendation."
Expert testimony is made    relevant by s.    45 of    the Evidence Act and where the Court has to form an opinion upon a point    as to    identity of handwriting, the opinion of a person `specially skilled' `in questions as to identity of handwriting' is    expressly made    a relevant fact. There is nothing    in the Evidence Act, as    for example    like illustration (b) to s.    114 which entitles the Court to presume that an accomplice is unworthy of credit, unless he is corroborated    in material particulars which justifies the court in assuming that    a handwriting    expert's opinion is unworthy of credit unless corroborated. The Evidence    Act itself (s. 3) tells us that `a fact    is said to be proved when, after considering the matters before it, the Court either believes    it to    exist or considers its existence so probable that a prudent man ought, under the circumstances of the    particular case, to act upon the supposition that it exists'. It is necessary to occasionally remind ourselves of this interpretation clause in    the Evidence Act lest we set an artificial    standard of proof not warranted by    the provisions of the Act. Further, under s. 114 of the Evidence Act, the Court may presume the existence of any fact which it thinks likely to have happened, regard being had to the common course of natural events, human conduct, and public and private business, in their relation to facts of    the particular case. It is also to be noticed that s. 46 of the Evidence Act makes facts, not otherwise relevant, relevant if they support or are inconsistent with the    opinions of experts, when such opinions are relevant. So, corroboration may not    invariably be    insisted upon before acting on the opinion of handwriting expert    and there need be no initial suspicion. But,    on the    facts of a particular case, a court may require corroboration of a varying degree. There can be no hard and fast rule, but    nothing will justify    the rejection of    the opinion of an expert supported by unchallenged reasons on the sole ground that    it is    not corroborated. The approach of a court while dealing with the opinion    of a handwriting expert should be    to proceed cautiously, probe the reasons for the opinion, consider all other relevant    evidence and decide finally to accept or reject it.

Apart from    principle, let    us examine if precedents justify invariable insistence    on corroboration. We have referred to Phipson on    Evidence, Cross on Evidence, Roscoe on Criminal Evidence,    Archibald on    Criminal Pleadings, Evidence and Practice and Halsbury's Laws of England but we were unable to find a single    sentence hinting at such a rule. We may now refer to some of the decisions of this Court. In Ram Chander    v. U.P. State,(1) Jagannatha Das, J. observed : "It may be that normally it is not safe to treat expert evidence    as to    handwriting as    sufficient basis for conviction" (emphasis ours) "May" and "normally" make our point about the absence of an    inflexible rule. In Ishwari Prasad Misra v. Mohammed Isa,(2) Gajendragadkar, J. observed : "Evidence given by experts can never conclusive, because after all it is opinion evidence", a statement which carries us nowhere on the question now under consideration. Nor, can the statement be disputed because it is not so provided by the Evidence Act and, on the contrary, s. 46 expressly makes opinion    evidence challengeable by    facts, otherwise irrelevant. And    as Lord President Cooper observed in Davie v. Edinburgh Magistrate : "The parties have    invoked    the decision of a judicial tribunal and not    an oracular pronouncement by an expert".

In Shashi    Kumar v. Subodh Kumar,(3) Wanchoo, J., after noticing various features of the opinion of the expert said :

"We do not consider    in the circumstances of this case that    the evidence of the expert is conclusive and can falsify the evidence of the attesting witnesses and also the circumstances which go to show that this will must have    been signed in 1943 as it purports to be. Besides it is necessary    to observe that expert's evidence as to handwriting is opinion evidence and it can rarely, if ever take    the place of    substantive evidence. Before acting on such evidence it is usual to see if it    is corroborated either by clear direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. In the present case the probabilities are against the expert's opinion and the direct testimony of the two attesting witnesses which we accept is wholly inconsistent with it".
So, there    was acceptable    direct testimony which    was destructive of    the expert's    opinion; there are other features also which made the expert's    opinion unreliable. The observation regarding corroboration must be read in that context and it is worthy of note that even so the expression used was `it is usual' and not "it is necessary'.

In    Fakhruddin v. State of    Madhya    Pradesh,(4) Hidayatullah, J. said :

"Both under s. 45 and s. 47 the evidence is an opinion, in the former by a scientific comparison and in the latter on the basis of    familiarity    resulting from frequent observations and experience. In either case the Court must satisfy itself by such means as are open that the opinion may be acted upon. One such means open to the Court is to apply    its own observation to the admitted or    proved    writings and    to compare them with the disputed one, not to become an handwriting expert but to verify    the premises of the expert in the one case and to comparison depends on an analysis of    the characteristics in appraise the value of the opinion in the other case. This the admitted or proved writing and the finding of the same characteristics in large measure in    the disputed    writing. In this way    the opinion of    the deponent whether expert or other is subjected to scrutiny and    although relevant to start with becomes probative. Where an expert's opinion is given, the    Court must see for itself and with    the assistance of the expert    come to    its own conclusion whether it can safely be held that the two writings are by the same person. This is not to say that the Court must play    the role of an    expert but to say that the Court may    accept the fact proved    only when it    has satisfied itself on its own observation that it is safe to accept    the opinion whether of    the expert or other witness."

These observations    lend no support to any requirement as to corroboration of expert testimony. On the other hand, the facts show that the Court ultimately did act upon the uncorroborated testimony of the expert though these Judges took the precaution of comparing the writings themselves.

Finally, we come to Magan Bihari Lal v. State of Punjab,(1) upon    which Sri R. C. Kohli, learned counsel, placed great reliance. It was said by this Court :

"......but we think it would be extremely hazardous
to condemn the appellant merely on the strength of opinion evidence of a handwriting expert. It is now well settled that expert opinion must always be received with great caution and perhaps none so with more caution than the opinion of a handwriting expert. There is a profusion of presidential authority which holds that    it is unsafe to base a conviction solely on expert opinion without substantial corroboration. This rule has been universally acted upon and it has almost become a rule of law. It was held by this Court in Ram Chandra v. State of U.P. AIR 1957 SC 381 that it is unsafe to    treat    expert    handwriting    opinion    as sufficient basis for conviction,    but it may be relied upon when    supported by other items of internal and external evidence.    This Court again pointed out in Ishwari Prasad v. Md. Isa, AIR 1963 SC 1728 that expert evidence of handwriting can never be conclusive because it is, after all    opinion evidence, and this view was reiterated in Shashi Kumar v. Subodh Kumar, AIR 1964 SC 529 where    it was    pointed out by this    Court    that expert's evidence as to    handwriting being opinion evidence can rarely, if    ever,    take the place of substantive evidence and before acting on    such evidence, it would be desirable to consider whether it is corroborated either by    clear direct evidence or by circumstantial evidence. This Court had again occasion to consider the evidentially value of expert opinion in regard to    handwriting in    Fakhruddin v. State of M.P., AIR 1967 SC 1326    and it    uttered a note    of caution pointing out that it would be    risky    to found a conviction solely    on the    evidence of a    handwriting expert and    before acting upon such evidence, the court must always try to see whether it is corroborated by other evidence, direct or circumstantial."
The above extracted passage,    undoubtedly, contains    some sweeping general observations. But we do not think that the observations were meant to be observations    of general application or    as laying down any legal principle. It was plainly intended to be    a rule of caution and not a rule of law as    is clear from the statement `it has almost become a rule of    law'. "Almost", we presume, means "not quite". It was said by the Court there was a "profusion of presidential authority" which insisted upon    corroboration and reference was made to Ram Chandra v. State of U.P., Ishwari Prasad v. Mohammed Isa, Shashi Kumar v. Subodh Kumar and Fakhruddin v. State of M.P. (supra). We have already discussed these cases and observed that none of them supports the proposition that corroboration must invariably    be sought before opinion evidence can be accepted. There appears to be some mistake in the    last sentence of the above extracted passage because we are    unable to find in Fakhruddin v. State of M. P. (supra) any statement such as the one attributed. In fact, in that case,    the learned Judges acted upon the    sole testimony of the expert after satisfying themselves about the correctness    of the    opinion by comparing the writings themselves. We    do think that    the observations in Magan Bihari Lal v. State of Punjab (supra) must be understood as referring to the facts of the particular case.

We are firmly of    the opinion that there is no rule of law, nor any rule of prudence which has crystalized into a rule of    law, that opinion evidence of a handwriting expert must never be acted upon, unless substantially corroborated. But, having due regard    to the imperfect nature of    the science of identification of handwriting, the approach, as we indicated earlier, should be one of caution. Reasons for the opinion must be carefully probed and examined. All other relevant evidence must be considered. In appropriate cases, corroboration may be sought. In cases where the reasons for the opinion are convincing and there is no reliable evidence throwing a doubt, the uncorroborated testimony of an handwriting expert may be accepted. There cannot be    any inflexible rule on a matter which, in the ultimate analysis, is no more than a question of testimonial weight. We have said so much because this is an argument frequently met with in subordinate courts and sentences torn out of context from the judgments of this Court are often flaunted.

The argument that the court should not    venture to compare writings itself, as it would    thereby assume to itself the role of an expert    is entirely without force. Section 73 of the Evidence Act expressly enables the Court to compare disputed    writings with    admitted or proved writings to ascertain whether    a writing is that of    the person by whom it purports to    have been written. If it is hazardous to do so, as sometimes said, we are afraid it is one of    the hazards to which judge and litigant must expose themselves whenever it becomes necessary. There may be cases where both sides call experts and two voices of science are heard. There may be cases where neither side calls an expert, being ill able to afford him. In all such cases, it becomes the plain duty of the Court to compare the writings and come to its own conclusion. The duty cannot be avoided by recourse to the statement that the court is no expert. Where there are expert    opinions they    will aid the Court. Where there is none, the Court will have to seek guidance from some authoritative textbook and the    Court's    own experience and    knowledge. But    discharge it must, its plain duty, with or without expert, with or without other evidence. We may mention that Shashi Kumar v. Subodh Kumar and Fakhruddin v. State of Madhya Pradesh (supra) were cases where the Court itself compared the writings.

Reverting to the facts of the case before us, Sri Kohli had not    a word    of criticism to offer    against the reasons given by the expert P.W. 15,    for his opinion. We    have perused the reasons given by the expert as well as    his cross-examination. Nothing has been elicited to throw the least doubt on the correctness of the opinion. Both the Sessions Court    and the    High Court compared the disputed writing at page G in Ex. P. 9 with the admitted writings and found, in conjunction with the opinion of the expert, that the another was the same person. We are unable to find any ground for disagreeing with the finding.

We may at this juncture consider    the argument of Sri Kohli that the internal evidence afforded by the document showed that the appellant was not its author. He argued that the appellant was not even a matriculate whereas the author of the    document had described himself    as a graduate. And, what necessity    was there for a murderer and robber to write a note    like that, questioned Mr. Kohli. It appears to us that the note was designed to lay a false trail by making it appear that the murder and the robbery were the handiwork of some frustrated    and unemployed    young graduates, expressing their resentment against the world which had shown no regard for their existence.

The other    important circumstance against the appellant was the    recovery of the deceased's watch at the appellant's instance. That    the deceased was the owner of the watch was not disputed before us. That the watch was recovered at the instance of the appellant was also not disputed before us. What was urged was that there    was no reason to reject the explanation given by the appellant in his statement under s. 313 Cr.    P. C.    that he    had purchased    the watch from Roop Chand. Apart from his statement, there is nothing in the evidence to substantiate his case. On    the other hand, we think that, having come to know that the statement of Roop Chand in connection with the    investigation into another theft case had led the police    to interrogate Patrick, the appellant very    cleverly tried to foist previous possessions of the    watch on Roop Chand. We are not prepared to accept the appellant's    explanation. Even so, it was    urged,    the recovery was too remote in point of time to be linked with the robbery and the murder. It is true that there was a considerable time-lag.    We might have found it difficult to link the recovery of the watch with the robbery and    the murder had this been the only circumstance. But, we have the other vital circumstance that a writing made by    the appellant was left on the deceased's table that night. That circumstance coupled with the    recovery of the dead man's watch at the instance    of the appellant, are sufficient, in our opinion, in the absence of any acceptable explanation to hold the appellant guilty of the offences of which he has been convicted. The appeal is dismissed.

P. B. R.                   Appeal dismissed