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Present : De Sampayo A.J.FEREBA t;. ALI TAMBY.
328—P. C. Matale, 37,719.
Is pepper " produce " ?■—Ordinance No. 9 of 1885—Afust produce be theproduce of a "plantation ” for conviction under s. 4 fPepper is not " produce ” within the meaning of Ordinance. No.of 1885.
For a conviction under section 4 of the Ordinance there must beproof that the produce in question is the produce of a plantation.
fj* HE facts appear from the judgment.
A. St. V. Jayewardene, for the accused, appellant.—There is noevidence whatever to show that the accused knew the cooly was a” labourer.” Pepper is not a produce which is contemplated by theOrdinance. There is no proof that the pepper came from the estateof the complainant. V.
V. Grenier, for the respondent.—The definition of ” produce ” inOrdinance No. 9 of 1885 is not exhaustive. The term used in thedefinition is “ includes.” Though pepper is not specially mentionedin the definition, it is proved in this case to be a produce of planta-tions in the district. [De Sampayo A.J.—It is more or less a wildcreeper in these districts.] But it is cultivated in plantations forcommercial purposes.
It is not necessary to prove that the pepper came from anyparticular plantation; it is enough to prove that it is a produce ofplantations. The accused ought to have known in the circumstances-that the cooly was a ” labourer.”
Cur. adv. vult.
May 17, 1912. De Sampayo A.J.—
The accused has been convicted of the offence of having purchased'three measures of pepper from one Carolis, a labourer employed onSpring Hill estate, an offence punishable under section 5 of theOrdinance No. 9 of 1885. Section 4 of the Ordinance which definesthe offence is as follows: —*' It shall not be lawful for any one topurchase or take in barter or exchange or receive any produce-from any labourer employed on any plantation.” It was admitted!
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'1912. by counsel for the complainant-respondent that a person charged"Ob Sampavo under this section must be shown to have known the vendor to bea labourer, employed on a plantation. The accused is a MoorishPerero v. boutique keeper at Eattota, about quarter of a mile from Spring Hill.AliTamby estate, and Carolis a Sinhalese man employed on the estate, butliving, not in the estate lines, but on the roadside, about a quarterof a mile away. The accused bought the pepper opehly in the• ordinary course of business, and concealed nothing when inquirieswere made. He swore that he had not known Carolis before, butithe Magistrate considered this untrue. The only evidence on thepoint is that Carolis was seen at the accused’s boutique, not only on •.the day in question, but on the previous day as well. Howeverthis may be, there is nothing on the record to show that the accusedknew Carolis to be employed on the estate. But I need not labourthis point in view of other more serious objections to the convic-tion in this case. For instance: Is pepper “ produce ” within themeaning of the Ordinance? and must it not be shown that it was‘“produce ” of a “ plantation ”?
The interpretation clause of the Ordinance says “ produce ” shallinclude the fruit, &c., of any plant cultivated in a plantation, ••and “ plantation shall include any land on which coffee, tea,cacao, cardamoms, or cinchona are growing.” It seems to ine that‘‘ produce ” in section 4, which defines the offence, must.be coffee,tea, cacao, cardamoms, or cinchona, and that pepper is not such" produce.” Counsel for complainant contended that the gist of the•offence was the fact of purchase from a labourer, and that it did notmatter what kind of produce it was or where it came from; andfurther, that the offence would be committed even if, the produce•rightfully belonged to the labourer, say, by purchase elsewhere inthe market, and was not grown on any plantation in Ceylon. I•cannot accept this contention in any respect. The object of theOrdinance is stated in the preamble to be to make provision “ forthe protection of certain descriptions of produce,” and it accordingly-proceeds in the interpretation clause to mention the contemplated■” descriptions of produce,” and pepper is not one of them. More-over, the “ protection ” intended is not secured by prohibiting alldealings with labourers, but by penalizing within certain limits any•dealings with labourers with reference to the produce of plantations.In this case there is no proof whatever that the pepper in questioncame from any plantation, and much less from Spring Hill estate.It is not even said that there was any loss of pepper on the estate atthis time.
For these reasons I am of opinion that the prosecution whollyfailed, and the accused was entitled to be acquitted. I set aside the•conviction and acquit the accused.
PERERA v. ALI TAMBY