Sri Lanka Law Reports
[1p84] 1 SLR.
COURT OF APPEAL
TAMBIAH, J. ABEYWARDENE, J. AND 6. P. S. DE SILVA. J.
A. 10/83-H.C. GAMPAHA 12/83.
DECEMBER 1. 1983.
Criminal taw-Murdemus intention-Whetfier maxim that a person intends the naturalconsequences of his acts is a presumption of fact or of law.
The appellant was indicted on a charge of murder. In his summing up, the Trial Judgetold the jury that.'…. the law says that a person's intention could be gathered fromhis acts. The law says that a person intends the natural consequences of his acts.* Thejury found the accused guilty and he was sentenced to death.
The Judge's summing up contained a serious misdirection which could wel havecaused prejudice to the appelant. The maxim that a man intends the natural andprroable consequences of his acts is not a presumption of law upon which the jury wasobliged to act. It is no more than a presumption of fact of the kind enumerated insection 114 of the Evidence Ordinance, which the jury may or may not draw. It is apresumption which could be rebutted on a consideration of all the circumstances of thecase.
Case referred to
Chung KumMoey alias Ah Ngar v. Public Prosecutor for Singapore  2 WLR657 (PC.)
APPEAL from conviction in the High Court holden at Gampaha.
V. S. A. Pultenayagam with M. Wijetillake. Wimal Wikremasinghe and Miss DeepaliWijesundera for the acci£ed-appellnt.
P. Kumarasinghe, Senior State Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
Cur. adv. vuft.
CAAlo Smgho v. Attorney-General (G P. S. De Silva, J.)31
January 26, 1984,
G. P. S. OE SILVA, J.
The appellant was indicted on the charge of murder of oneWimalasiri. The jury by a unanimous verdict, found the appellantguilty of the charge and he was sentenced to death. This appeal isagainst the conviction.
The case for the prosecution, very briefly, was that it was theappellant who inflicted one stab injury which had penetrated theheart and the left lung. Having stabbed the deceased, the appellantis alleged to have uttered the words, 'Is that enough ?' Havingregard to the fact that two of the ribs had been cut, it seems clearthat the blow had been dealt with a fair degree of force. At thehearing before us, Mr. Pullenayagam did not seek to canvass thefact that it was the hand of the appellant that caused the fatalinjury. Counsel, however, strenuously contended that there was,first, a serious misdirection on the law and. secondly, an equallyserious non-direction which amounted to a misdirection in law. inthe summing-up.
While dealing with the question of 'murderous intention', theTrial Judge rightly told the jury that 'intention' is something in themind of a person and that it is difficult to present 'direct evidence'in regard to 'intention'. Then followed the passage in thesumming-up which Mr. Pullenayagam submitted was a misdirection *on the law. 'But the law says that a person's intention could begathered from his acts. The law says that a person intends thenatural consequences of his acts. *
am in entire agreement with Mr. Pullenayagam that this was aclear misdirection on the law. The maxim that a man intends thenatural and probable consequences of his acts is not a presumptionof law upon which the jury were obliged to act. It is no more than apresumption of fact of the kind enumerated in section 114 of theEvidence Ordinance, which the jury may at may not draw. It is apresumption based on common sense and may be rebutted by thecircumstances of the particular case.
Sri Lanka Law Reports
(1904) 1 SLR.
It is important to note that, in the instant case, the appellant hadinflicted only a single stab injury in circumstances indicative of thefact that he had acted on the spur of the njoment, withoutpre-meditation. No motive was alleged by the prosecution against theappellant. Having regard to the above facts, it seems to me that themisdirection complained of, could well have caused prejudice to theappellant. In my view, it is unsafe to assume that the jury would havefound a murderous intention to have been proved beyond reasonabledoubt, had they been told that the presumption was one of fact whichcould be rebutted on a consideration of all the circumstances of thecase. However, there could be no doubt that the appellant bad theknowledge that the injury was likely to cause death, and was,therefore, guilty of the lesser offence of culpable homicide, not•amounting to murder.
The next submission made by Mr. Pullenayagam was that therewas a non-direction amounting to a misdirection, inasmuch as theTrial Judge has failed to direct the jury on the second limb ofsection 293 of the Penal Code, viz., that the injury was inflicted'with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to causedeath'. In this connection. Counsel relied strongly on the judgmentof the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Chung Kum Moeyalias Ah Ngar v. Public Prosecutor for Singapore (1). Since I am of^Jie opinion that'Mr. Pullenayagam's first submission is entitled tosucceed, his second submission does not arise for consideration inthis appeal.
Accordingly, the conviction on the charge of. murder and thesentence of death are set aside and a verdict of guilty of the offenceof culpable homicide, not amounting to murder, is substitutedtherefor. The appellant is sentenced to a term of six years' rigorousimprisonment.
TAMBiAH. J.-l agree.
ABEYWARDENE, J.-l agree.
Conviction for murder set aside andsubstituted by conviction for culpable homicide
SINGHO v. ATTONEY – GENERAL