( 383 )
Present: Lyall Grant J.
DON CORNELIS v. PERERA.58—P. r. (Itff.) Colombo, 47,689.
Sentence—Crimes of common, occurrence—Convictionrare deterrent
Where it is difficult to secure a conviction in a class of crime,which is of freqnent occurrence in a district, the imposition of aheavy sentence in (he nature of a deterrent is justified.
PPEAL from a conviction by the Itinerating Police Magistrateof Colombo. The facts appear from the judgment.
J.S. Jayewardenc, for accused, appellant.
February 28, 1927. Lyall Grant J.—
The accused in this case has been convicted of the theft of a calfof the value of Rs. 10, and he has been sentenced to three months’rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 25, or in default anadditional month’s rigorous imprisonment.
( .384 )
On appeal it was not disputed that the Magistrate was entitledto convict him, but it was argued that in the circumstances thesentence is too severe. The accused is a man of about 35 years otage and no previous convictions have been proved against him.The reason given for the severity of the sentence is- that crimes ofthis nature are common in the district. I was referred to a caseappu Singho v. JJduma Lebbe 1 in which an accused had been giventhe maximum sentence for obstructing a public -officer in theexecution of his duty. . No circumstance of aggravation was foundin the evidence and that appeared to be his first offence. TheMagistrate gave the maximum sentence because offences of thatsort frequently came before him. . Mr. Justice Ennis said that hedid not consider that as a sufficient reason for imposing the maxi-mum sentence. The reason given by the Magistrate here, however,is a little different. The reason given is that crimes of this natureare common in the district but convictions are rare. One knowsthat certain types of crimes may be prevalent, but that it may bedifficult to secure a conviction, and I think it is ’ a recognizedprinciple of criminal administration that in such circumstances it issometimes necessary to impose a rather heavier sentence than oneotherwise would in order to deter others from committing suchcrimes. No doubt the most satisfactory thing is that all criminalsshould be apprehended, and as far as possible an exact measureof punishment should be given to meet the gravity of the offence,but where by the nature of the case it is difficult to apprehend thecriminal it sometimes becomes necessary for the Court to impose arather heavy penalty in order to act as a deterrent.
I think, however, in this case that, in view of the small value ofthe animal stolen and in view of the accused’s previous good conduct,it is possible to reduce the sentence in some degree. I reduce thesentence to two months’ rigorous imprisonment, and remit the fine.
Conviction affirmed; sentence varied.
1 Bnlnainghan'a Notea of CaSea, p. 33.
DON CORNELIS v. PERERA