In a recent development to the Swapnil Walke murder case, the process of identification of parade has begun at the Special Judicial Magistrate in Margao city from yesterday, also known as the Test Identification Parade (TIP).
It is learnt that the case has a total of 14 witnesses who saw the two accused – Evander Rodrigues and Mustafa Sheikh – make for a run from the crime scene, after they allegedly stabbed goldsmith, Swapnil Walke. Walke died of his injuries before arriving at the hospital.
The identification process is being carried out before the court is expected to continue for a couple of days.
How Does It Work?
This test identification parade process basically means that one witness a stranger commits a crime, he or she should also be able to remember the face, and then accurately recognize the same in the court. The main purpose is that an identification parade helps confirm the identity of the accused and help the police in their further investigations.
In the Walke murder case, as mentioned, there are 14 witnesses, two of which were already called for the identification process yesterday.
Here, although processes vary at different places, a local report has stated that certain dummy persons are made to stand amid an accused, and the witness will have to identify the accused they say running away from the crime scene.
Keeping in mind the covid-19 pandemic, SOP’s are put in place for this process also, which includes mandatory social distancing amongst the accused and the dummy person called in for this process.
A local report has stated that the identification process may take a while before it is completed.
The entire process takes place within the court premises, however, to understand what would happen if witnesses fail to identify the accused, we spoke to some advocates specializing in the criminal law field.
Most stated that at least a few witnesses should be able to identify the accused, and the number of dummy persons kept in the court for this process will vary and it depends on each judge.
They also were of the opinion that finally, it is for the public prosecutor to take a decision in the case, stating that if some fail to identify the accused, it is alright, however, if none of the witnesses are able to identify the accused, then it can create an issue, as the accused side will find itself in a better position to seek an acquittal in the case.
Fear of Being a Witness:
Although we do know that eyewitness testimonies and other valuable evidence can be important, errors in this identification process are reportedly also a leading cause of wrongful convictions in many countries.
Also, fears of being a witness reign high, as many are concerned about being part of the process that identifies the accused. Fear of any consequences of being a witness also plays a role, as some have the distress of being part of the process.
According to Advocate Eeshan Usapkar, he felt that in the state, the fear of having consequences of being a witness is not that much. “At least in Goa, we are pretty safe that way. We don’t witness situations like that we see in Bihar or U.P. wherein the witnesses give testimony and then there are repercussions for them. It’s very rare that such retaliation from the accused side against the witness is seen (in Goa),” he said.
As of now, the 14 witnesses will prove to a key aspect in the case of Walke’s murder, and with the process expected to be completed soon, Crime Branch investigating the case feels that this identification of the accused by the witnesses will strengthen the case in court.
Meanwhile, after nearly 50 days since the murder case, the bullet that was fired at Swapnil Walke was recovered by the Crime Branch from the jewelers shop itself. In the post-mortem findings, it was revealed that Walke had a through and through injury, and as such, the bullet had fallen off. The bullet – key to the investigation – if not found, would be a loophole that the defense lawyers would definitely raise an issue about.