William v. Dharmasiri
1962Present: H. N. G. Fernando, J.
A. H. WILLIAM, Appellant, and W. A. DHARMASIRI (S. I. Police),
S. C. GSO—M. C. Colombo, 13G17JC
Motor Traffic Act—Section 25 (1)—Charge of using a motor vehicle without a revenuelicence—Quantum, of evidence.
A charge under section 25 (1) of the Motor Traffic Act of driving a motorvehicle for which a revenue licence is not in force cannot be proved merely byevidence that a licence was not visible when the vehicle was inspected. Thofact that a licence is not in force has to be proved by evidence from the proporauthorities to the effect that the licence had not been issued at the relevanttime.
A.PPEAL from a judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, Colombo.S. A. Marikar, for the Accused-Appellant.
W. Abeyakoon, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
H. N. G. FERNANDO, J.—William v. Dharmasiri
September 24, 1962. H. K/ G. Fernando, J.—
The accused-appellant was charged on three counts, firstly, with drivinga motor vehicle for which a revenue licence under the Motor Traffic Actwas not in force, secondly, with failing to make the licence available forinspection, and thirdly, with driving a motor vehicle while there wasnot in force the necessary policy of insurance under the Motor TrafficAct. The only evidence was that of a Police Constable who statedthat on thet day in question, the 19th January, 1962, he stopped thislorry and asked the appellant for the revenue licence and the certificateof insurance. According to the Constable neither was produced norvisible on the lorry. The defence of the appellant was that the appellantwas driving a bowser belonging to the Shell Company and that when thebowser had been stopped on the road the Constable came up suddenly,and rapped the appellant on his shoulder saying “ machan”. Theappellant had then made some remark perhaps showing resentment atthe mode of address adopted by the Constable. According to theappellant, the Constable only thereafter stated that he wanted to inspectthe lorry. When he did inspect it the revenue licence was visible on thewindscreen, one side showing the 1961 licence and the other side the1962 licence. According to the appellant the Constable never asked forproduction of the certificate of insurance.
The first count which is the principal one in this case deals with thelicensing of motor vehicles and is brought under that section of the Actwhich prohibits the use of unlicensed vehicles. A charge under section25 (1) of the Motor Traffic Act cannot be proved merely by evidencethat a licence "was not visible when a vehicle was inspected. The factthat a licence is not in force has to be proved by evidence from the properauthorities to . the effect that the licence had not been issued at therelevant time. In the absence of any such evidence the Magistratecould not have reached the conclusion that the vehicle was unlicensedon 19th January, 1962.
Counsel for the appellant has shown me the licence holder and it wouldappear that a licence for this vehicle had in fact been issued to be inforce from 1st January, 1962. In the absence of any evidence to thecontrary, I think it only reasonable to assume that a licence bearing thedate 1st January, 1962, must have been issued some time earlier. Thatassumption renders extremely doubtful the truth of the Constable’sevidence to the effect that neither the licence nor the certificate ofinsurance were produced when called for.
The appeal is allowed and the conviction and sentences set aside.
A. H. WILLIAM, Appellant, and W. A. DHARMASIRI (S. I. Police), Respondent