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Present : De Sampayo J.
SINNAPPU v. SILVA.134—P. G. Kalutam, 46,329.
Offence committed beyond the territorial tcaters of Ceylon—Jurisdiction—
Criminal Procedure Code, s. 136.
The accused, who were fishermen of Kalutara, were charged withhaying committed robbery of fish worth Bs. i from other fishermenwho went out to sea ‘in katumarame from Kalutara. This took placeat a part of the sea which was beyond the limits of the territorialwaters of Ceylon.
Held, that the Police Court of Kalutara had jurisdiction.ty HB facts are set out in the judgment.
No appearance for appellant.
Qarvin, S.-G. (with him Dias, C. G.), for respondent.
March 12, 1918. De Sampayo J.—
This case raises a very important question with regard to thejurisdiction of a Police Court to try offences committed on the highseas. The accused were charged in the Police Court of Kalutarawith having committed robbery of some fish and prawns of thevalue of Rs. 4, the property of one Sinnappu, and were convictedand sentenced to various terms of imprisonment. It appears thatSinnappu and three or four others, who are fishermen of India andhave recently come to Kalutara for the purpose of fishing, went outto sea in Icatumarams, and the accused, who are Sinhalese men ofKalutara, came in a boat, threatened to beat them with oars, andforcibly took away the fish and prawns which they had caught. Ittranspired in the course of the evidence that this happened on a partof the sea which is beyond the limits of the territorial waters ofCeylon. The question then is, whether the Police Court of Kalutarahad jurisdiction to try the accused.
The local Legislature has not provided, and has no power toprovide, against offences committed beyond the territorial limits ofthe Colony. There are, however, certain Imperial Statutes whichdeal with the matter. Section 1 of 12 and 13 Viet., c. 96, whichrelates to the prosecution and trial in the Colonies of offences withinthe jurisdiction of the Admiralty, enacts that;—
If any person within any Colony shall be charged with the commissionof any treason, piracy, felony, robbery, murder, conspiracy, or otheroffence of what nature or kind soever committed upon the s«u
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where the Admiral or Admirals have power, authority, or jurisdiction,or if the person shall be brought to trial to any Colony, then and in everysuch case all Magistrates, Justices of the Peace, public prosecutors,juries, Judges, Courts, public officers, and other persons in such Colonyshall have and exercise the same jurisdiction and authorities for inquir-ing of, trying, hearing, determining, and adjudging such offences …as bythe law of such Colony would and ought to have been had and exercisedor instituted and carried on by them respectively if such offence hadbeen committed, and such person had been charged with havingcommitted the same, upon any waters situate within the limits of anysuch Colony and within the limits of the local jurisdiction of the Courtsof Criminal Justice of such Colony.
It need hardly be stated that the “ Admiral M is an officer of theCrown, exercising its jurisdiction, both executive and judicial, overall matters arising upon the high seas. The effect of the Statute isto confer jurisdiction on the Criminal Courts of the Colonies inrespect of offences committed on the high seas. Certain doubtshaving arisen as to whether the punishment should not still beaccording to English law, the later Statute, 37 and 38 Viet., c 27,enacted that " when, by virtue of any act of Parliament now orhereafter to be passed, a person is tried in a Court of any Colony forany crime or offence committed upon the high seas or elsewhere outof the territorial limits of such Colony and of the local jurisdiction
of such Court , such person shall, upon conviction, be
liable to such punishment as might have been inflicted upon him ifthe crime or offence had been committed within the limits of suchColony and of the local jurisdiction of such Court. " Consequently,a person may not only be tried in Ceylon for any offence committedon the high seas, but be punished according to the law of Ceylon.The only remaining question is. What particular Criminal Court shalltake cognizance of the offence? Here comes in section 136 of theCriminal Procedure Code, which provides that in the case of offencescommitted on the territorial waters of the Colony the District Courtor Police Court within the local limits of which an accused may beor be found shall have jurisdiction. If the present offence had beencommitted on the territorial waters of Ceylon, the Police Court ofKalutara would under that section have had jurisdiction, becausethe accused were and were found within its local limits, and, there-fore, by operation of section 1 of the Imperial Statute, 12 and 13Viet., c. 96, above quoted, the Police Court of Kalutara had juris-diction in respect of the offence, though committed on the high seas.
There is no good reason for interfering with the conviction on itsmerits. The appeal is dismissed.
SINNAPPU v. SILVA