Somapala v. Sirr
1953Present: Rose C.J. and Swan J.
D. SOMAPALA, Appellant, and MURIEL SIRR,Respondent
S. C. 56—D, G. Colombo, 21,681
In an action for damages for seduction, a false denial by the defendant ofmore than the barest acquaintance with the plaintiff at the material timemay properly be considered to lend some corroboration to the woman’s story.
Appeal from a judgment of the District Court, Colombo.
H. V. Perera, Q.G?, with N. M. de Silva, for the defendant appellant.
H. W. Jayewardene, with D. B. P. Goonetillelce, for the plaintiffrespondent.
Cur. adv. vult.
(1904) A. C. 423 at 428.
ROSE C. J.—Somapala v. Sirr
September 30, 1953. Rose C.J.—
This is an appeal from a judgment of the District Court, Colombo,entering judgment in favour of the plaintiff for Rs. 2,000 and costs inrespect of an action for damages for alleged seduction.*'
The case for the plaintiff, briefly stated, is that the plaintiff and thedefendant, who were neighbours, became acquainted with each other,that the acquaintance ripened to affection and that upon the nightof 8th May, 1949, the plaintiff, who was a virgin at the time, was seducedby the defendant. The plaintiff kept the episode from her parents untilshe herself was aware of her pregnancy and until her parents discoveredher condition. There is evidence, which the learned District Judgeapparently accepted, that subsequent to the discovery of the plaintiff’scondition, conversations took place between the defendant and theplaintiff’s parents which resulted in the defendant promising to marrythe plaintiff in due course. Later, the question of finance was dis-cussed and the defendant apparently being dissatisfled with the provisionthat was proposed to be made by the plaintiff’s parents, withdrew fromthe arrangement.
The principal point taken by the appellant was that there was nosubstantial corroboration of the plaintiff’s story of the seduction. More-over, it was further contended that the contradictions in the story toldby the plaintiff and by her principal witnesses were of such a naturethat the learned Judge should have rejected the plaintiff’s version of thefacts.
The principal item of corroboration relied upon was the discoveryof the plaintiff and the defendant in a compromising position by theinvalid elder sister of the plaintiff. It appears that the 8th of May wasthe final day of q two weeks Pirith Pinkama in the village temple. The8th May was the “ Dorakadasna ” night, on which the practiceevidently is for almost all the people in the village to gather at the temple.In fact, the plaintiff’s parents went to the temple at about 7.30 p.m. anddid not return to their house until late at night; the suggestion of theplaintiff, of course, being that the defendant was aware that the plaintiffwould be alone in the house, apart from her invalid sister. Accordingto the evidence of the sister, she rebuked the defendant for being in thehouse alone with the plaintiff so late at night, and thereupon the defendantleft. Moreover, the subsequent conduct of the defendant, as depicted bythe plaintiff’s witnesses, would tend to corroborate her (the plaintiff’s)story of the seduction.
Counsel for the appellant has drawn our attention to a number ofcontradictions in the story of the plaintiff herself and to certain pointsin which it conflicts with the story as told by her mother and sister.While it is no doubt true that criticism can rightly be directed to theseaspects of the matter, it seems to me that the learned District Judgehas sufficiently considered these matters and has formed the opinion that,in spite of them, he still prefers the plaintiff’s story. Moreover, as waspointed out by learned counsel for the respondent, this would seem to
Waharaka Sobitha TJnnanse v. Amunugama JPiyaraJana Unnanse
be one of those cases in which, as is pointed out in Poggenpoei v. Morris any false denial by the defendant may properly be considered to lendsome corroboration to the woman’s story. I would add that the abovecase has been approved by this Court in Vedin Singho v. Money Nona 2.
In the present case, the defendant denied more than the barestacquaintance with the plaintiff at the material time, which denial thelearned District Judge has found—and I have no reason to doubt thecorrectness of his finding—to be untrue.
Taking the case as a whole, and after a careful perusal of the evidence,I have come to the conclusion that the learned District Judge hasadequately considered both the facts and the law applicable to them,and that bis decision in favour of the plaintiff is one with which it wouldnot be proper for this Court to interfere.
There was no argument on the question of damages and, havingregard to the fact that the plaintiff was a school teacher and that hercareer must have been injured by this episode, I see no reason to concludethat the damages are excessive.
For these reasons the appeal is dismissed with costs.
Swan J.—I agree.
D. D. SOMAPALA, Appellant, and MURIEL SIRR, Respondent
Somapala v. Sirr