Merciales v CA Digest

May 2, 2018 | Author: Lara Yulo | Category: Demurrer, Prosecutor, Acquittal, Discretion, Double Jeopardy
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Merciales v CA Crimin Criminal al cases cases for rape with with homic homicide ide in connecti connection on of the death of  • Maritess Merciales were filed against private respondents/accused During During the trial, the public prosecuter prosecuter filed a motion motion for the discharge discharge of  • accused accused Nuada so that he could be a state witness witness but the prosecution prosecution contended contended that it was not required to present evidence to warrant the discharge discharge of Nuada because he was already under the Witness Witness Protection Protection Program of the D! "ut this was motion was denied for failure of prosecutor to present evidence •  provided in #ec $, %ule &&$ &&$ of the &$'( %ules on Criminal Procedure Procedure •

Prosecution then filed petition for certiorari )*%+ No+ &&-..', another  case0 before the #C question such denial+

1he private respondents then filed a motion to set the case for hearing based on their constituti constitutional onal right to speedy trial which was granted granted and the hearing was set on !uly -$, &$$2 n that date, the prosecution filed an M%, instead of presenting of further  evidence+ 1he hearing was postponed and set for another hearing 34ug $5 n that said date, prosecutor again filed for M% and invo6ed its pending  petition for certiorari with the #C but the respondents ob7ected to reset the hearing again+ 1he 7udge called for recess to allow the prosecution prosecution to present the N"8 agent would be presented presented to prove prove the e9tra7udicial e9tra7udicial confession confession of the accused Nuada "ut after the recess, the public prosecutor declined to present the N"8 agent and manifested that it would not anymore present further evidence 1he defense then moved that the cases be deemed submitted for decision decision and as6ed leave of court to file a D:M;%%:% to evidence

1he #* filed in the case before the #C a motion for issuance of a 1% to en7oin the 7udge but was denied by the #C

RTC< dismissed the charge of rape with homicide based on demurrer to evidence filed by private respondents/accused= hence, the accused were 4C>;811:D and the criminal criminal cases against them were D8#M8##:D D8#M8##:D for lac6 of sufficient sufficient evidence evidence to  prove the guild of the accused beyond reasonable doubt Petitioner argued: reopening of the criminal case will not violate the accused?s right to double •  7eopardy+ 1here was 7udicial misconduct due to the prosecutions? premature resting • and trial court?s grant of the demurrer to evidence even if the presentation of  the evidence for the prosecution has not been completed 3violation of due  process5

%espondent?s argument<  No e9trinsic fraud, abuse of discretion and 7urisdiction defect to warrant the • annulment or %eopening %eopening of the case will violate the accused?s accused?s right against double •  7eopardy 8##;:< Could there be an acquittal by demurrer in this case@ N+ 1here was grave abuse of discretion by the trial court+ A:BD< P:1818N P:1818N *%4N1:D, *%4N1:D, case remanded, %1C 7udge order to complete  presentation of all available witness for the prosecution Nonfeasance on the party of the public prosecutor:  1he trial court required the public prosecutor to present evidence to 7ustify  Nuada?s discharge as state witness but it insisted there was no need to do so  because Nuada was already under the Witness Protection Program of the D!  Due to this refusal to present the required evidence it prompted the trial court to deny the motion to discharge Nuada  4gain, the trial court the directed public prosecutor to present 4tty+ Caabay, the N"8 agent who too6 Nuada?s e9tra7udicial confession but the prosecutor  declared that he was resting the prosecutions case, 6nowing fully well that the evidence he previously previously presented presented was not sufficient sufficient to convict convict the accused+  4nd due to that, a demurrer to evidence was filed by the accused and was granted by the trial court 

8t was was then then clea clearr that that the the publ public ic pros prosecu ecuto torr was was guil guilty ty of seri seriou ouss nonfeasance+ 8t was his duty to ta6e all steps to protect the rights of the  people in trial+ Ae should have e9hausted all available proof to establish the guilt of the accused+

Grave abuse of discretion on the part of trial court:  Due to the nature of the testimonies of the . prosecution witness and and nature nature of the circumstance circumstances, s, the trial court 3motu proprio5 should have called additional witnesses to question such them to satisfy his mind to the issues of the case

1he petitioner was deprived of her day in court+ 8t is not only the #tate but also the offended party that is entitled to due process in criminal cases+ With regard the acquittal of the accused by the trial was done without regard to due process of law, it is null and void as if there was no acuittal at all!  8t cannot be double 7eopardy

A:NC:, it was very apparent that the public prosecutor violated the due process rights of the private co"plainant owing to its blatant disregard of procedural rules and the failure to present available crucial evidence, which would tend to  prove the guilt or innocence of the accused therein+ Moreover, we li6ewise found that the trial court was gravely re"iss in its duty to ferret out the truth and, instead, 7ust passively watched as the public prosecutor bungled the case+ #octrine in this case: When there is a finding that there was grave abuse of discretion on the  part of the trial court in dis"issing the cri"inal case by granting the accused$s de"urrer to evidence, the  %udg"ent of the TC is considered &'(#!

 7urisdiction, for a 7udgment which is void for lac6 of due process is equivalent to e9cess or lac6 of 7urisdiction 

1he power of courts to grant demurrer in criminal cases should be e9ercised with great caution, because not only the rights of the accused E   but those of the offended party and the public interest as well E are involved+

#e"urrer to the evidence is an ob7ection by one of the parties in an action, to the effect that the evidence which his adversary produced is insufficient in point of law, whether true or not, to ma6e out a case or  sustain the issue+

 N1:#< 

1he grant or denial of a demurrer to evidence is left to the sound discretion of the trial court, and its ruling on the matter shall not be disturbed in the absence of a grave abuse of such discretion+  4s to effect, the grant of a demurrer to evidence amounts to an acquittal and cannot be appealed because it would place the accused in double  7eopardy+  1he order is reviewable only by certiorari if it was issued with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lac6 or e9cess of 7urisdiction+ )hen grave abuse of discretion is present, an order granting a de"urrer beco"es null and void!

1o be considered sufficient therefore, the evidence m ust prove< 3a5 the commission of the crime, and 3b5 the precise degree of participation therein by the accused+ •

1he accused cannot be in double 7eopardy because the lower court acted without 7urisdiction 3the trial 7udge in this case acted without or in e9cess of 

1hus, when the accused files a demurrer, the court must evaluate whether  the prosecution evidence is sufficient enough to warrant the conviction of  the accused beyond reasonable doubt+

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