[G.R. No. 11451. October 19, 1916. ]
THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. DOMINGO PEREZ and ERNESTO PEREZ, Defendants-Appellants.
Gregorio Araneta for Appellants.
Attorney-General Avanceña for Appellee.
1. "LESIONES" ; EVIDENCE; GRAVITY OF WOUNDS. — In weighing the evidence as to the seriousness of the wounds inflicted upon the complaining witness in a criminal case, in which the accused is charged with lesiones graves (the infliction of grave physical injuries), due weight should be given any manifestation of a disposition on the part of the complaining witness to exaggerate or overemphasize the gravity of his wounds, in order to avoid the danger of a conviction of the crime of lesiones graves (grave physical injuries), when in truth and in fact the offense committed may have been that of lesiones menos graves (less grave physical injuries) or merely lesiones leves (slight physical injuries).
D E C I S I O N
CARSON, J. :
A careful review of all the evidence discloses nothing which would justify us in disturbing the findings of the trial court in so far as he holds that both the defendants and appellants in this case assaulted the complaining witness at the time and place and substantially in the manner charged in the information. We are satisfied that the evidence of record discloses that the defendants acted in concert in making the assault, and that both of them were therefore properly held criminally responsible for the commission of the offense.
Our review of the evidence of record, however, aided by the careful and exhaustive analysis of the testimony of the witnesses by counsel for the defense in his written brief and oral argument, leaves us in grave doubt as to whether the physical injuries inflicted upon the complaining witness were so serious as to justify the conviction of the defendants and appellants of the crime of grave physical injuries as defined and penalized in subsection 4 of article 416 of the Penal Code, in accord with the findings of the trial judge in that regard, who was of opinion that the injured party "by reason of the physical injuries inflicted was ill and incapacitated for labor for more than 30 days" and imposed the penalty of one year and one day of prision correccional, with the accessory penalties prescribed by law.
We are of opinion that while the evidence discloses that the physical injuries inflicted upon the complaining witness prevented him from working and necessitated medical attendance for more than one day, they were not of such a character as to necessitate medical attendance or to "prevent him from working" for more than seven days. There were introduced in evidence two certificates as to the nature of the wounds inflicted upon the injured party, one prepared on the day the assault was committed by the provincial health officer after an examination had at the instance of the provincial fiscal, and the other prepared at the instance of the injured man a considerable time after the injuries had been inflicted, and manifestly for use in the course of these proceedings, by a practice practitioner who was called in by the complaining witness to treat his wounds. Both these doctors were called to the witness stand and the testimony of the provincial health official was to the effect that the injuries inflicted were not of a very serious character and, as set forth in his certificate, prepared at the instance of the provincial fiscal on the day of the assault, would not require medical attention for more than a few days at most. The testimony of the private practitioner, if accepted without reserve, would lead to the conclusion that the injuries suffered by the complaining witness were of a very grave character and were such that the complaining witness was prevented from working for a period of considerably more than a month. His description of the injuries inflicted was emphatically corroborated by the testimony of the complaining witness himself.
We think that the trial judge did not give due weight to the manifest desire on the part of the complaining witness to exaggerate and make much of the injuries received by him; and that in accepting the testimony of the private practitioner as against that of the provincial health officer, he overlooked a number of inconsistencies between the statements made in the certificate prepared by the private practitioner and his testimony on the witness stand. These inconsistencies are such as to give rise to the brief that this witness was either consciously or unconsciously influenced by a partisan desire to sustain the contentions of his patient, the complaining witness or that in preparing his certificate some time after assault was committed and after he had stopped treating his patient, and in his testimony on the witness stand, he was speaking from memory without any very distinct recollection of the precise character of the nature of the wounds as to which he testified. The testimony of the provincial health officer, verifying the contents of the certificate prepared on the day of the assault, is so clear, and consistent, and evidently without bias, as to make it impossible for us to hold beyond a reasonable doubt that he was less accurate than the practitioner in his description and recollection of the nature of the injuries suffered by the complaining witness.
We conclude that the judgment convicting and sentencing the accused of the crime of grave injuries as defined and penalized in paragraph 4 of article 416 of the Penal Code should be reversed; that both the defendants and appellants should be convicted of the misdemeanor defined and penalized in article 587 of the Penal Code; and that they should be sentenced to 15 days of arresto menor and the payment of the costs in the Court of First Instance, with the costs of this instance de officio. So ordered.
Torres, Johnson, Moreland, Trent, and Araullo, JJ., concur.
Back to Home | Back to Main