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Man murders neighbour for singing loudly, gets life sentence

The victim, a resident of Kochi in Kerala, was stabbed for singing devotional songs loudly, which interfered with the convict's daughter's studies

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Kochi, Jul 15 (PTI) The Kerala High Court has upheld the life sentence awarded to a man for stabbing to death his neighbour whose loud singing of devotional songs was interfering with the convict's daughter's studies.

The high court, however, acquitted a co-accused in the case, who had been convicted and awarded life sentence, saying he was not guilty of the offence of murder or of sharing a common intention with the prime accused—the neighbour—to commit a crime.

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A bench of Justices K Vinod Chandran and Ziyad Rahman AA said, "The unfortunate victim would have never imagined that singing devotional songs in his leisure time at the courtyard of his own residence, would result in an abrupt end to his life, at the hands of his intolerant neighbour."

The incident occurred on the evening of 19 March 2011 when the victim, Sasidharan Pillai, was singing devotional songs loudly and his neighbour came over shouting that the singing was disturbing his daughter's studies. The neighbour was accompanied by two others and it resulted in an altercation with the victim, who was stabbed thrice by the prime accused during the fight.

In connection with the incident, all three were arrested and faced trial for murder. However, during the proceedings, one of them passed away and the remaining two were convicted and awarded life sentences by the trial court which was challenged in the high court.

The high court upheld the conviction and sentence of the prime accused, the neighbour, based on the evidence of the sole eyewitness, the deceased's wife, before whom the victim was stabbed to death. The high court, however, acquitted the co-accused saying merely because he was present at the site does not mean he shared a common intention to commit an offence.

"Despite scanning through the entire evidence meticulously, we could not find any specific instance from which any assumption can be drawn as to the pre-designed plan or concert or meeting of minds of the accused 2 and 3, with that of the 1st accused (the neighbour)," the bench said.

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