454 i H. N. G. FERNANDO, C.j.—Sherifdccn v. Girihagauui
Present.: H. N. G. Fernando, C.J.
J.M. SHEET FLEEN, Appellant, and
M.B. G1RTH AGAM A (Inspector of Police), Respondent
S.C. 371/60—M. C. Kandy, 57043
Control of Prices Act—Charge of profiteering in safe of Iteef—Proof—Requirement ofevidence of the accuracy of the scales in which the beef was weighed—Failure, toseal the parcel of the beef—Effect.
In a prosecution for selling beef nt a price in excess of the maximumcontrolled retail price—
Held, that, in view of the possibility that the scales used to weigh the beefcould lmve been inaccurate and also of the possibility that, on account offailure to seal properly, there coidd have been tampering with the beef sold,there was doubt, as to the guilt of the accused.
“ Having regard to the fact that prison sentences ave quite usual in cases olprofiteering, it is important that .when the alleged offenco consists of sellingunder-weight there should be_satisfactory evidence of the correctness of iliescales in which articles are weighed before prosecutions are launched in respectof the sale of them,”
Appeal from a judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, Kandy.
K.Thevarajak, with S. fiittwnpalam, for the accused-appellant.
Kosala Wijayalilale, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
November 2G, 19G9. H. N. G. Fernando, C.J.1—
The appellant in this case has been convicted of selling 15 ounces of.beef for Re. 1*20 in an area in which the maximum controlled retailprice for a pound of beef is Re. 1T5. The evidence of the prosecutionwas that a police constable was instructed to jmrchase a pound of beefwithout bones from the appellant and that the ajjpellant deliveredsome beef to the constable and charged him Rs. 1-20. The evidencewas that the beef was neighed at a Co-opcratii'c store in the presenceof the accused and found to weigh 15 ounces, and that it was taken tothe police station and parcelled and scaled in lltc jn escnce of the accused.Thereafter the i>arcel was sent to the Veterinary Surgeon who identifiedit as containing beef without bones.
The Veterinary Surgeon however was definite that the parcel whenhe examined it was not sealed. His evidence easts serious doubt on thetruth of the prosecution case that the accused was present right through-out from the time of the sale of the beef up to the time when the paredwas examined by the Veterinary Surgeon. If as the evidence .of thiswitness reveals, the parcel was not scaled when it was broiight to him,
DE KHET-SKR, J.—Xrn/a rajah v. Government Ayrnt, -Jaffna
there was every possibility that some jiortiou of the beef which hadbeen sold by the appellant to the police constable had been abstracted,thus reducing the weight of the beef which had been sold to the constable.
Moreover there was no evidence to show that the scales on which thebeef was weighed was accurate. Having regard to the fact that 2>risonsentences arc quite usual in eases of profiteering, it is important thatwhen the alleged offence consists of selling under-weight there shouldbe satisfactory evidence of the correctness of the scales in which articlesarc weighed before prosecutions arc launched in respect of the sale ofthem. In view of the jjossibility that the scales used in this ease mayhave been inaccurate and also of the possibility that there could havebeen tampering with the beef sold by the apijcllaot, there was in myO2u'nion doubt as to his guilt. .
The appeal is allowed, and the conviction and sentence arc set aside.
J. M. SHERIFDEEN, Appellant, and M. B. GIRIHAGAMA (Inspector of Police), Respond