HE ARNE S.PJT.—Attorney-General v. Kunji Palu.
293$Present: Hearae S.P.J.
ATTORNEY-GENERAL v. KUNJI PALU.
246—M. C. Trincomalee, 5,379.
Motor car—Accident on highway—Damage to property—No request forinformation—Duty to report—Motor Car Ordinance, No. 20 of 1927,s. 51 <b) and (c), (Cap. 156).
Where 'damage is done to property’ by a motor car on the highwayand no request is made lor particulars as required by section 51 (b),the driver is not absolved from the duty to report the accident to thePolice.
^ PPEAL from an acquittal by the Magistrate of Trincomalee.
D. Jansze, C.C., for complainant, appellant.
Colvin R. de Silva, for accused, respondent..
August 22, 1939. Hearne, S.P.J.—
In this case the Attorney-General is the appellant. The respondentwas charged with •having failed to report an accident involving damageto a buggy cart in breach of section 48 (iii) (b) of Ordinance No. 20 of1927, as amended by section 6 of Ordinance No. 41 of 1935.(Vide
Vol. 4 of Legislative Enactments of Ceylon, Cap. 156, page 164.)
It was admitted that no report was made to the Police and it was alsoconceded that the accused person was not requested by any person forparticulars regarding himself, or the lorry he was driving, or the name andaddress of the owner of the lorry. In these circumstances the Magis-trate acquitted the respondent.
The relevant law is this. If, owing to the presence of a motor caror. a highway, any accident occurs causing injury to any person, animalor property then—
the driver of the car shall immediately stop the car;
the driver of and every person in the car at the time of the accident
shall, if so requested by any person injured, or by the ownerof or the person in charge of any animal or property injured,or by any police officer or headman, give his name and address,.and also the distinctive number and other indentification marksof the motor car and the name and address of the owner ofthe car;^
<c) where the driver of the car has not furnished the particularsmenti'oned in paragraph (bj to any person entitled to obtainsuch particulars from him, he shall forthwith proceed to thenearest Police Station and report the accident to the officerin charge thereof or to the first Police constable or officerwhom he meets on his way thereto;
<(d) if bodily injury has been caused to any person, the driver shall—
(i) if the injured person so requests, or is unconscious, or ifhe appears to be so injured as to endanger life, take
HEARNE S.P.J.—Attorney-General v, Kunji Palu.
him at on.ee to a hospital or medical practitioner, andthen forthwith report the accident to the officer incharge of the nearest Police Station, and
in every other case, at once repdrt the accident ta theofficer in charge of the nearest Police station,and every other occupant of the motor car shall within twenty-four hours communicate his name and address *o the officerin charge of a Police Station, stating that he was in the carat the time of the accident;
In acquitting the accused the Magistrate held that it was only if theaccused had been asked for particulars in (b) and had failed to furnishthese particulars that he became liable to make a report under (c).
It is contended on the other hand by the Attorney-General that itwas the accused’s duty to report the accident under (c) if he had notfurnished particulars in (b) whether he had been requested to furnish theseparticulars or not.
It appears to me that, if the view of the Magistrate was adopted, theclear intention of the Legislature, namely, that in the event of an accidentthe driver of a motor car involved in the accident should not in anycircumstances be able to hide his identity, would be frustrated in. thecase of an accident in consequence of which injury was causedto property or an animal but not to a person.
Two illustrations occur to me. Injury is caused to a perambulatorbut not to the child in it or to the servant propelling it lowing to thepresence of a motor car on the highway. The servant in charge runsaway in fear or, if he does not run away, asks no questions. It is not,I think, intended by the law that the driver of the car may leave thescene of the accident and make no report to the Police. On the con-trary, I think, that (c) was expressly intended to meet an eventualitysuch as this.
Or, again, take the case of a driver who damages a culvert, traffic sign,lamp post or fence. Can it be said that he has complied with the law bystopping his car, inspecting the damage he has done and then speedingon his way again?
The law, as it appears to me, casts on the driver the three-fold dutyto stop, to supply information on request, and to report to the Police.In the case of bodily injury having been caused the duty of reportingto the Police is an absolute one. It is necessary that it should be so asthe person injured may not be in a condition to ask for particulars.Where, however, bodily injury has not been caused the driver is onlyabsolved from his duty to report to the police if he has already supplied particulars under (b). Should the circumstances be such that theperson entitled to particulars has not been placed in possession of thoseparticulars, the driver is under an obligation to make a report to thePolice so that they may be available if and when required. It is onlyin this view of t,he matter that full effect can, in my opinion, be givento the purpose with which the law was framed.
I allow the appeal, convict the accused, and remit the case to theMagistrate for the purpose of passing sentence.
514 SOERTSZ A.C.J.—Sub-Inspector of Police, Eheliyagoda v. Posathamy.
Since writings the above I have seen an article in the Law Journalcommenting on section 22 of the Road Traffic Act, 1930, sub-section (2)of which is similar to though not identical with (c). “ On one matter,however, we are certain”, the concluding paragraph reads, “if an ac-cident well within the Act takes place, and the only reason why thedriver does not give his name and adress is that there is nobody therewho is willing and able to ask for it, the duty to report arisesI interpret our own law in the same Way.
ATTORNEY – GENERAL v. KUNJI PALU