Salman's driver version of accident correct: Defence

Actor's lawyer says Ashok Singh's testimony cannot be squarely rejected as he had told the truth

Salman's driver version of accident correct: Defence

 Rejecting the prosecution charge and Mumbai Sessions Court’s observation that driver Ashok Singh is a “got up witness”, Salman Khan’s lawyer on Friday told the Bombay High Court that his testimony cannot be squarely rejected as he had told the truth and also knew of the consequences.

“Defence witnesses must be treated with the same respect as prosecution witnesses. You have to discredit them through cross-examination.

A witness is a witness...in fact, the prosecution went on anticipating its case rather than proving its own case,” senior defence counsel Amit Desai told Justice A R Joshi, who is presiding over the appeal of the actor against his conviction and five-year jail term in a 13-year-old drunken-driving and hit-and-run case.

“DW-1 (Ashok Singh), took the risk of owning up the act and appeared before the court and said ‘I did it’.  He is making a statement against his own interest and hence the quality of evidence is high and has a higher status,” Desai said.

As a matter of fact, Additional Sessions Judge D W Deshpande, who had presided over the trial, in its judgment, had said: “So having regard to the defence, I am of the opinion that the said witness DW-1 appears to be a got up witness that too after a period of 13 years. It has brought on record that Ashok Singh was driving the vehicle. Such defence evidence cannot be accepted as it is not probable, appealable, agreeable to the conscious of common prudent man, hence it is liable to be discarded straight away.” 

Referring to the observations, Desai pointed out: “What Ashok Singh said is not hearsay. He has gone to the box and told the truth. He had personal knowledge of the event and went to the police station to tell the truth, but he was dismissed. Defence witnesses are examined after all prosecution witnesses are examined.

When the trial was in the Magistrate Court and if all the PWs had deposed, he would have stepped into the box. When the case was commuted to the Sessions Court, he went there after the PWs were examined...so where is the delay...he deposed before the court at the first chance.”

Desai said that it is to be noted that the natural tendency of a human is not of own up an act, but here “he tells the truth”.

“We went to the Bandra police station to tell the truth just after the accident and narrated what had happened,” he said pointing out that his testimony is important as he had explained in detail about the tyre burst and how the car veered off and also told the correct route that the car had taken. The hearing would resume on November 16.

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