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OSSEN v. SIADORIS.
P. C., Hatton, 18 £10.
Possession of false weights—Intention to use fraudulently—Testing ofbalance—Ceylon Penal Code, s. 250—Ordinance No. 11 of 1887.
It is not an offence nnder section 259 of the Penal Code as amended byOrdinance No. 11 of 1887 to possess a false weight unless such posseauonbe with the intention to use it fraudulently.
And the mere possession of a weight which does not conform to thestandard, and even the use of it, is not presumptive evidence of anintention to use it fraudulently.
A balance used for testing a weight which is alleged to be a false oneshould itself be tested before it is applied as a test.
HE accused was charged under section 259 of the Penal Codeas amended by Ordinance No. 11 of 1887 with “ having been
“ in possession of a false weight intending that the same may be“ fraudulently used,” and was convicted and sentenced to pay a fineof Rs. 25.
The accused appealed.
Jayewardene, for appellant: There is no evidence that theweights are false. There is nothing to show in what balancethey were weighed. The difference may be due to some defectin the scales. Even assuming that the weights are false, thereis nothing to show that the accused intended to use themfraudulently. It is essential that a fraudulent intention shouldbe proved, as will appear from the express provision to that effectmade by Ordinance No. 11 of 1887. The conduct of the accusedsclearly shows that they were not aware of the weights beingfalse, and that they had no fraudulent intention.
8th November, 1895. WITHERS, J.—
The appellant has been convicted of the offence of being inpossession of a false weight, to wit, a ldb. weight, intendingthat the same may be fraudulently used, against the provisions ofsection 259 of the Penal Code as amended by Ordinance No. 11 of1887 ; and the question is whether his guilt has been proved.
The facts are briefly these. The appellant is a boutique-keeper.On the 7th of September last the appellant and other boutique-keepers were required by a sergeant of police to bring theirweights and measures to the store of one Periyannen Chetty tobe tested. Accused’s boutique is opposite this Chetty’s boutique,where the sergeant of police was seated when he gave orders to
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1895. the boutique-keepers to bring their weights and measures. TheWithebs, J. measures not being presently in question, I confine myself to theweights.
The accused brought out of his boutique a 1-lb. weight, a $-lb.weight, a ^-lb. weight, and smaller weights. He declared thosewere all he had, and it is not suggested that he had any more.The result was that the Bergeant complained to the Magistrate ofthe accused having in his possession two false weights, viz., a 1-lb.weight and a £-lb. weight (and a false measure).
The sergeant says that he tested the weights in some boutique-keeper's balance against standard weights, and that he foundthem both short. He does not condescend to say by how mucheither of appellant’s weights fall short of the standard 1-lb. and£-lb. weights, nor does he say whether, or how, he satisfiedhimself that the boutique-keeper’s balance was a true one. Thisbalance was not produced in Court. There was a balance in Court,with regard to which the Magistrate notes that the scales wereperfectly fair. 1 assume it to be a true balance. A balance may,however, appear to be just without being so at all, and it shouldbe tested before it is applied as a test itself.
In another note the Magistrate observes that the j-lb. weight,tried in the balance in Court against a standard £ lb., proved tobe considerably heavier; while of the 1-lb. weight be observes“ it is evidently short.’’ In another note again he writes : “ The“ pleader for accused here points out to the Court that the false1-lb. weight is shorter by half an ounce.’’
The Magistrate has not expressly found that accused’s 1-lb.weight falls short of the standard 1 lb. by any particular quantity.As to the |-lb. weight the Magistrate left that out in his formalcharge. Why ? It was as much a false weight as the other, ifthe balance used in Court is to be trusted ; and if he intended touse it fraudulently, it was an offence on the part of accused tohave it in his possession.
If he UBes it knowingly in purchasing goods, it could only bewith a dishonest intent. If he uses it knowingly for selling hisgoods, he is a superlatively honest man, but a foolish tradesman.If these weights are respectively much below and above thestandard weights, it is almost incredible to suppose that theaccused knows of their disparity, for much that he gains by the1 lb. he would lose by the | lb. This makes one very scepticalabout the accuracy of the balance used in Court. But if theweight is under the standard, and therefore false, what is theevidence of intention to use it fraudulently ? This weight bearsthe impression of “ 1 lb.” on it. Did the accused know it to be
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otherwise, or had he reason to suspect it ? He at once brought1895.
it with his other weights to be tested. He said they were withem, j.correct. Had he reason to believe they were not ? Except thesetwo the others Beem to be correct.
The mere possession of a weight not conforming to the stand*ard, and even nsing it, does not necessarily imply a fraudulentintent.
I am not satisfied in the first place that this 1-lb. weight is afalse one, and of intent to use it fraudulently I can find noevidence.
I therefore set aside the conviction, and acquit the accused.
OSSEN v. SIADORIS