DALTON J.—King v. Logus.
1932Present: Dalton J.
KING v. LOGUS7—D. C. (Crim.) Colombo, 9,939.
Finger prints—Charge of housebreaking—Evidence of finger prints on glass. pane—No explanation by accused—Inference of guilt.
Where, in a charge of housebreaking and theft, the only evidenceagainst the accused was the finding of his finger prints on the glass paneof a door inside the house.
Held, that, in the absence of any explanation by the accused as to how• his finger prints came to appear on the glass plane, the Court was justifiedin concluding that the accused was one .of the • burglars.
PPEAL from a conviction by the District Judge of Colombo.
H. V.Perera for second accused-appellant.
Wendt, C.C., for the Crown.
April 29, i932. Dalton J.—
The second accused has been convicted with two others for com-mitting house-breaking by night on May 30, 1931, and committing thetheft of cash and jewellery, the property of the owner of the house andothers. The appellant is the second accused, the first and third accusednot appealing from their convictions. The only evidence against thesecond accused is the finding of certain finger prints upon the glass panesof the door inside the house, the door leading from the hall to an innerroom. Counsel for the appellant is not prepared to contest the conclu-sion that the finger prints are the finger prints of the second accused,but he strenuously urges that the finding of the finger prints is no proofthat the second accused was in that house on the day or night of theburglary. There is evidence to show that the second accused is not inthe habit of going into that house, which evidence is not controvertedby the second accused himself. The second accused was not called as awitness and gave no evidence. The question to be decided is whether thelearned District Judge was justified in inferring from the fact that thefinger prints were found on a door inside the house that the second accusedwas one of the thieves. I may also point out that exactly similar evidence
DALTON J.—King v. Logus.
of finger prints found on a glass mirror was the only evidence againstthe third accused. Stress was also laid upon the fact that the firstaccused had made no reference to the second accused in the statementhe made about the burglary. I do not think that that matter is of importance.The learned District Judge has concluded from the finger print evidence,against the second accused that he was one of the burglars. There is noevidence how long finger prints remain on glass panes. . The glass panein question was at a height of 5 ft. 6 in. above the ground, which itself wasabove the head of the second accused, who appears to be a. short man,but it would have been quite a simple matter for the second accused, asthe evidence shows, to put his hand against the glass pane, pushing thedoor open or helping the others to open it. In the absence of any evidencewhatever by the second accused that he ever was in that house beforeor that he was entitled to go there, it seems to me the learned DistrictJudge was entitled to infer from the finger prints upon the door that hewas one of the burglars on the night in question. It is not necessary tosay anything further than that the accused himself has given no evidenceto explain as has been'suggested, that the finger prints might have beenput there on some oth^r occasion when he was there innocently, and inthe absence of that evidence, I think the learned District Judge wasentitled to conclude that the accused did participate in the burglary.The appeal must therefore be dismissed.
KING v. LOGUS