1 {1917) 4 G. W. R. 363 ( 365).
September 38, 3024. Jayewardexe A.J.—1W4*
la this case the acfcused appeals against his conviction under The Kingsection 382 of the Penal Code. Having considered the evi* S°y*adeuce carefully and the reasons given by the learned District Judgefor the conviction, 1 feel that there are grave doubt's ns to the guiltof the accused. Owing to.comments made on the methods adoptedby the Inspector of Police which the learned District Judge thoughtwere not entirely groundless, he has read the extracts from theInformation Book filed in the case. After reading these extractshe finds that the evidence of certain witnesses for the prosecutionis practically the same as the statements made by'them when firstexamined by the police, and is convinced that the case against theaccused; is true. The learned District Judge was not entitled inlaw to use the statements to the police which were entered in theInformation Book for the purpose of corroborating the evidence.ijiven for the prosecution. By doing so he has disregarded theprohibition contained in section 122 (3) of the Criminal ProcedureCode.
Entries in the Information Book can be used to assist the Courtby suggesting means of further elucidating points that need clearingup, or for the purpose of contrndicting a witness's evidence in Court,but not as evidence of any date, fact, nr statement therein. Hamid
v. Earthen (mtpra).
In the case of Dal Singh v. King Emperor 1 the Privy Council hadto deal with a similar case. There a Court of -Appeal in India withthe view of making its opinion of the guilt of the accused moreconclusive proceeded to'test the evidence of the witnesses for theprosecution by reading the earlier statements of these witnessesmade to the police and entered in the Police Diary or Information *
Book under section 1.72 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code.
4 In.their Lordships’ opinion ” said Viscount Haldane “ this wasclearly wrong.. It was inconsistent with the provisions ofsection 172 of the Criminal Code.” This improper use of theeutries in the Information Book would not necessarily vitiate theconviction of the accused if there is other reliable and in-dependent evidence to support the conviction.. The only otherevidence against the accused on which the learned DistrictJudge relies is the fact that an American gold coin waspawned by the' accused with a pawnbroker the day after theattack, in the course of which the complainant had stated he had losthis watch and chain and a bunch of American gold coins. Thecomplainant has attempted to identify-a coin traced to the possessionof a pawnbroker in Colombo, named Henry de „Silva, who saysthat the accused pawned it with him and signed his name as H. S.
Soysa in a book kept by him, whilst^ the accused’s name T. S. deZoysa. The pawnbroker’s book (1) was produced. The accused1 {1917) 116 L. 7‘. 621 {624), 26 Cal. L. J. 13 {22),
Jaykwak*im-:kk A. J.
( 826 )
denies pawning the coin in question or signing the book (1). Thecomplainant says that the coin pawned belongs to him. It has nodistinctive marks, but he $ays he knows it because he has used it.This evidence of identification is hardly satisfactory, and the evidenceof the pawnbroker is equally unsatisfactory and the learnedDistrict .Judge lias sought corroboration of it in the similaritywhich he says exists between the accused's admitted signatureon pages 12 and 24 of the Police Court record and his signaturein the pawnbroker's book (.[).
I have very carefully examined the signatures and comparedthose on pages 12 and 24 with that in (I), but I am unable to findany similarity. I requested Crown Counsel to point out thesimilarity referred to by the District Judge, but" Ire himself failedto notice the similarity found by the District Judge or any othersimilarity between these signatures. The independent evidencewhich must be present, it the “ improper ” use of the entries in theInformation Book is to be overcome, is not forthcoming in this case.
The conviction must accordingly be set aside, and. the accuseducqtutted'.
Conviction set aside.