Straight, Offg. C.J.
1. These are five appeals from a decision of the Judge of Meerut, passed on the 14th of April last, convicting the appellants under Section 460 of the Penal Code, and sentencing Baldeo and Mir Singh to transportation for life, and Amman, Ram Bakhsh and Amir Bakhsh to seven years' rigorous imprisonment. The five appellants were tried, along with three other persons, by name Masita, Mohsam Khan and Jamna, who were acquitted, for having, on the night of the 4th January last, been jointly concerned in the breaking into the dwelling-house of one Bahal bania of Kutana, in the course of the commission of which offence the said Bahal was murdered. The only direct evidence against the appellants is that of an approver, by name of Ghariba, but as to Baldeo, Mir Singh and Amir Bakhsh there is the further proof that they produced, or caused to be produced, certain portions of the property stolen on the night of the crime from the house of Bahal. I have already, in the case of Queen-Empress v. Ham Saran ante p. 306 entered at length into the question of the nature and extent of the corroboration to be required to make it safe or proper to act upon the evidence of an accomplice, and it would be a useless waste of time to repeat the remarks I then made. I entirely adhere to each and every one of them, and the learned Judge is in error in supposing that the view I took in the case of Queen-Empress v. Kure Weekly Notes 1886 p. 65 was in any sense at variance with the rule I had already laid down, namely, that Criminal Courts, dealing with an approver's evidence in a case where several persons are charged, should require corroboration of his statements in respect of the identity of each of the individuals accused. In this connection I cannot do better than refer to the observations of one of the wisest and most practical minded Judges that ever sat on the English Bench, Mr. Justice Maulab in Reg. v. Mullins 3 Cox. C.C. 526 which are singularly apposite to this country, where those who have to administer justice unfortunately know what a perverted ingenuity there is for concocting false charges, and supporting them by the most elaborately fabricated network of perjured testimony.
2. Says that learned Judge: 'I quite agree that the confirmation of an accomplice as to the mere fact of a crime having been committed, or even the particulars of it, is immaterial, unless the fact of the prisoner being connected with it is proved. It often happens that an accomplice is a friend of those who Committed the crime with him, and he would much rather get them out of the scrape and fix an innocent man than his real associates. Confirmation does not mean that there should be independent evidence of that which that accomplice relates, or his testimony would be unnecessary. If, for instance, a burglary had been committed, and an accomplice gave evidence that a person-charged was present when it was effected, if that person had been seen hovering about the premises some time before, or was seen in possession of some of the stolen property shortly after, that might be reasonable confirmation of the statement that the prisoner helped to commit the crime.'
3. In the present case, upon careful consideration of all the facts as to Baldeo, Mir Singh and Amir Bakhsh, I am not prepared to say that their recent possession of part of the stolen property, so soon after it had been stolen, was not such corroboration of Ghariba's evidence of their participation in the dacoity as entitled the learned Judge to act upon his story in regard to those particular persons. But as to Ram Bakhsh, although he was present when his father Baldeo pointed out the place where some of the property was dug up, he does not appear to have said anything or given any directions about it; and there is, in my opinion, no sufficient material to warrant the inference of guilty knowledge on his part. So with regard to Amman, no property was found with him or produced through his instrumentality, and under these circumstances I think that both he and Ram Bakhsh ought to have been acquitted.
4. I dismiss the appeals of Baldeo, Mir Singh and Amir Bakhsh, but, allowing those of Ram Bakhsh and Amman, acquit them and direct that they be released.