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Present: The Hon. Sir Joseph T. Hutchinson, Chief Justice.HENDRICK v. KIRIHAMl.
P. C., Kandy, 16,97.4.
Public servant, obstruction to —Search jor toddy—Refusal to allow.search—Spilling the contents of pot of toddy—Obstruction.
Where a constable went with a search warrant to search theaccused’s house for fermented toddy, and the accused refused toallow such search and also spilt a pot of toddy on the ground,—Held, that the conduct of the accused did not amount toobstruction.
P. C., Ratnapura. :i,948,1 disapproved.
A PPEAL by the accused from a conviction. The facts appear-T–V in the judgment.
Van Langenberg, for the accused, appellant.
January 20, 1909. Hutchinson C.J.—
The appellant is convicted of obstructing a public servant inthe discharge of his duties in executing a search warrant to. searchthe accused’s house for fermented toddy. What the evidence showsis that the constable went to the accused’s house with a searchwarrant to search for fermented toddy, and he says: “ Accusedwas inside the house, and I spoke to him and told him the objectof our coming. He said he would not allow me to search withoutthe village headman being present, and so saying he got inside thehouse and picked up a pot of toddy and spilt it over the hearth.”The constable did search the house, and I can see no evidence thatthe accused obstructed him in his doing so. The mere saying that. he would not allow him to search without doing anything more isnot an obstruction ; and the spilling of the toddy was certainly notan obstruction.
My attention has been drawn to a case No. 355, P. 0., Ratnapura,3,948, in which on July 20, 1906, Mr. Justice Wood Renton heldthat a similar act was an obstruction. In that case an Arachchiwent to the accused’s house with a view to procure evidence toshow whether a charge that the accused was selling toddy illicitlywas true or false. It does not appear that he had a search warrant.When he arrived in front of the accused’s house he saw a pot, whichhe believed might contain toddy, standing on a messa. Before hehad begun to make any search, or had done anything else, at leastso I gather from the judgment, the accused kicked at the pot withthe obvious intention of destroying the evidence which it mighthave supplied against him. Mr. Justice Wood Renton held thatwas an obstruction of the Arachchi within the meaning of sectioi183. As at present advised 1 decline to follow that decision.
1 allow the appeal and set aside the conviction.
A ppeal allowed.
1 S. C. Min., July 20, 1906.
HENDRICK v. KIRIHAMI