JAYEWARDENE A.J.—Herath v. Rajapakse.
1932> Present: Jayewardene A.J.
HERATH v. RAJAPAKSE.
239—P. C. Panadure, 13,041.
Public servant—Threat of injury—Must be calculated to deter from duty?—Penal Code, s. 186.
A threat of injury to a public servant within the meaning of section 186of the Penal Code must be of coming injury such as is likely to operateon the mind to cause the public servant to do4 or forbear or delay doingan act connected with the exercise of his public functions.
.A.PPEAL from a conviction by the Police Magistrate of Panadure.
H. V. Perera (with him M. T. de S. Ameresekere), for accused-appellant.
July 5, 1932. Jayewardene A.J.—
The accused, who is a resident of Katunayaka near Negombo, onFebruary 1, 1932, had gone on a visit, probably of inspection, to his estateat Ambalangoda, about 83 miles away. On his way to the estate. hewas held up at about8 a.m. by the KalutaraPolice neartheKalutara
bridge and asked forhis new licence for theyear 1932.Hehad only
his old licence and was charged with failing to renew his licence for1932, in the Kalutara Police Court, but has been discharged. On hisreturn journey at about 2 p.m., he was stopped at Wadduwa, a few milesfrom the Kalutara bridge, and again questioned by the Sub-Inspectorof Police, Panadure,the complainant. Theaccused seemsto have
been angry and toldthe complainant that his car hadalready been
trapped at Kalutara. He did not give his name and address till he wasasked three times. As he was going off he said, addressing the Sub-Inspector, “ You rascal, wait and see what I would do to you.” Inrespect of this language three charges have been framed against theaccused, namely:—
First, that he held out a threat of injury to a public servant to deterhim from doing his duty, under section 186.
Second, for insult under section 484.
Third, for criminal intimidation under section 486.
320JAYEWARDENE A.J.—Herath v. Rajapakse.
Towards the end of his cross-examination, the complainant said thatthe accused raised his fist towards his as he used the words. In thishe is not supported by his witness, the Excise Inspector. The Magistrateconvicted on all three counts but fined him Es. 5 on the first and secondcounts and passed no sentence on the third 'as it was included in thefirst count.
On a charge of threat of injury to a public servant it is necessary toprove that the threats were really calculated to cause the person to whomthey were held out to act otherwise than he would have done of his ownfree will. What the section deals with are menaces which would have atendency to induce the public servant to alter his action because of somepossible injury to himself. Rex v. Amirkhah The word threat shouldnot be narrowly construed as meaning a mere effusion of passionunattended with any fixed purpose of doing harm. [1 Gour. 1032 (4thEdition).] The threat must be of coming injury such as is likely tooperate on the mind of the public servant and to cause him to do orforbear, or delay doing any act, connected with the exercise of his publicfunctions. The complainant in the present case has not been threatenedinto inaction. On the very next day he charged the accused in thePolice Court. I do not think that the words used by the accused wereintended or calculated to influence the complainant in any way. Onthe contrary, their effect is best appreciated by the prosecutionwhich has resulted in this appeal. His mind was steeled to furtheraction.
The. charge of insult is not sustainable. It must appear from thewords used and having regard to the person to whom they were addressedthat the accused intended or knew that it would be likely to cause himto break the peace or commit some other offence. Rahaman v. Perera %Waas v. Samarasinghe, P. C. Negombo, 74,620
Lord Ellenborough C.J. observed in Rex v. Southerton" “To makeit indictable, the threat must be of such a nature as is calculated toovercome a firm and prudent man ”.
The learned Police Magistrate says that the complainant is a newrecruit to the Sub-Inspector’s line, and hence the words used and thethreat cannot be considered as mere verbal abuse or an empty threat,but might have had the effect of preventing him from prosecuting theaccused for failing to renew his licence for 1932, and as the complainantis quite young he thinks that the abusive word “ rascal ” might havemade this Police Officer commit a breach of the peace, as it was utteredin the presence of his subordinate, a constable.
I cannot agree with this somewhat novel view. The Sub-Inspectormay be a raw recruit. The accused, who was a passerby in a car, couldnot know that and even if he did, a Sub-Inspector would be a firm andprudent man, in the language of Lord Ellenborough, who would not belikely to commit a breach of the peace, nor has he been threatened intoinaction.
1 (1886) Unrcported Cr. C. 2733,3 IVccr. *0.
[Ratnalal. p. 240 (4th ed.)].* S. C. M. 17 t. 32.
= 10 C. fj. 11. lliO.-*• r, East. 120.
Mohamed v. Annamalai Chettiar.
The Magistrate observes that the accused who had been held up by theKalutara Police in the morning for the same purpose, and had travelleda long distance in visiting his estate, “ lost his temper a bit I agreewith the Magistrate that the accused should not have lost his temper.There is no law, however, making a mere effusion of temper punishable.The very extravagance of the language in the circumstances was a clearindication of its hallowness. In my view there was neither a seriousthreat nor criminal abuse. The complainant has not suffered a moment'sanxiety or mental anguish by the threatened injury. The conviction isset aside and the accused acquitted.
HERATH v. RAJAPAKSE