Home > Publications > Corroborating Evidence as a Mechanism to Fill ‘Reliability Void’ in Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System: Judicial Discretion and its Limitations

Corroborating Evidence as a Mechanism to Fill ‘Reliability Void’ in Pakistan’s Criminal Justice System: Judicial Discretion and its Limitations

Shahbaz Ahmad Cheema1

Abstract
Technique of corroboration plays a vital role in appreciation and evaluation of
evidence in judicial proceedings. Its purpose is to ensure conviction of real culprits
and to prevent wrongful punishment of innocent persons. This paper analyzes the
relevance and significance of technique of corroboration in criminal justice system of
Pakistan. It discusses circumstances that necessitate corroboration and how that
necessity is met in the judicial proceedings. In Pakistan, some witnesses and pieces of
evidence are corroborated to usher them reliability when they are found to be lacking
credibility or of suspicious nature. The requirement of corroboration is not necessarily
dictated by law: it is mandated by prudence, caution and practice for satisfying the
judicial conscience as to credibility of a witness and reliability of original evidence.
When a witness or original evidence does not meet the requisite standard of credibility
and reliability, that particular situation generates a „reliability void‟. This reliability
void necessitates resorting to technique of corroboration to ascertain veracity of such
witness or for bestowing trustworthiness to such evidence. However, corroboratory
evidence does not convert an absolutely unreliable witness or piece of evidence into a
reliable one.

Keywords: Corroboration; Child witness; Interested Witness; Accomplice;
Confession; Dying declaration; Criminal justice system; Pakistan.