C 248 )
Present : Schneider J.
PONNU t>. SINNATAMBI et al.
333—P. C. Trincomalee, 353.
Theft—Removal of cattle from, pasture tjround for enforcing money duefor grazing—“ Dishonesty ”—
The accused who were renters of a grazing ground removedsome goats belonging to the complainant from whom money wasdue for animals tied in the pasture ground, in tne mistakenbelief that they had the right to do so, to enforce payment.
Held, that accused were not-guilty of theft.
T HE facts appear from the judgment.
J. S. Jayawardene, for the appellants.
July 14, 1922. Schneider J.—
The three accused appellants were convicted of the theft of threegoats and four kids, and sentenced each to pay a fine of Rs. 15.They appeal with the leave of the Magistrate. There is no reasongiven why he granted leave, but it seems to me that the appellantsare entitled to succeed. The evidence of the complainant is thatshe owed the renters, by which term I presume she means theaccused, certain monies payable for grazing' her cattle, and thatwhen she had tied these animals on the grazing ground the accusedcame there openly and removed the animals. One of her witnessesstates that one of the .accused mentioned to him that he was re-moving the animals because the complainant had made default in pay-ment of' her rent. Accordingly, the facts put before the Magistratein support of the prosecution fail to prove a charge of theft, becauseit is an essential element of the offence that the taking should bedone dishonestly (section 366), “ Dishonestly, ” is defined as doingan act with the intention of causing wrongful loss to one personand wrongful gain to another. It cannot be said that the act ofthe accused in removing the- animals was to cause wrongful lossto the complainant, because, from the facts put before the Magis-trate, the inference is obvious that the removal was due to a mistakenidea of their i*ight to enforce payment.
I would therefore sot aside the conviction of all the accused, andacquit them
PONNU v. SINNATAMBI et al