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Present: Wood Renton J.ATTORNEY-GENERAL v. KANDAIYA et ahP, C. Anuradhapura, 35,867.
Punishment—Unlawful gaming—Plea of guilty by accused—Lightsentence—Case sent back for inquiry into antecedents of accused.
Where a person was convicted of unlawful gaming and sentencedto pay a fine of Re. 1, and where there was nothing on theface of the record to show why the offence had met with so triviala penalty, the Supreme Court set aside the sentence, and sent thecase back to the Magistrate and directed him to fix the penalty inthe light of any evidence a»s to the character and antecedents of theaccused which might be put before him either by the prosecution orby the defence.
It is competent for courts of first instance to inquire, after theconviction of the accused persons before them, into the characterand antecedents of the persons so convicted. Such inquiries mustbe held on oath.
(HIS was an application by the Attorney-General for the
JL alteration or enhancement, by the Supreme Court in revision,of the sentence passed by the Police Magistrate of Anuradhapuraon the accused, who were tried before him on a charge of unlawfulgaming, and who were convicted on their own plea and sentencedto pay a fine of Re. 1 each.
Walter Pereira, K.C., S.-G., for the Attorney-General. There isnothing on the record to show why so light a sentence should havebeen passed. The prosecution can place before the Magistrate factswhich will show that the sentence is inadequate. Before theMagistrate imposed such a light sentence he should have inquiredinto the antecedents of the accused.
Balasingham, for the respondents, had no objection to the casebeing remitted to the Magistrate, for him to impose after inquirysuch sentence as he may think fit.
July 20,1911. Wood Renton J.—
This is a motion on behalf of the Attorney-General by the learnedSolicitor-General for the alteration or enhancement by the SupremeCourt in revision, of the sentences passed by the Police Magistrateof Anuradhapura on the accused-respondents, who were triedbefore him on a charge of unlawful gaming, in contravention ofsection 4 of Ordinance No. 17 of 1889, and who were convicted on
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July 20, 1911
Attorney -Qenwalv, Kandaiya
their own plea. The sentence imposed by the learned PoliceMagistrate was in each case a line of Re. I only. The offenceof unlawful gaming is punishable under section 4 of OrdinanceNo. 17 of 1889 with a fine not exceeding Rs. 100, or with rigorousimprisonment for a term which may extend to six months, or withboth. There was nothing on the face of the record to show why anoffence of this character had met with so trivial a penalty, andaccordingly the learned Police Magistrate was requested to state,for the information of the Court, why he imposed a merely nominalfine. In his reply he says, that in view of the fact that it was theaccused’s first offence, and that the gambling did not take place ina place kept for unlawful gaming, he considered that a fine ofRe. 1 and a strict warning would deter the accused from repeatingthe offence. There is nothing in the record, so far as I can see, toshow that the accused were first offenders, and even if that fact hadbeen proved, it would have been a matter for consideration by thePolice Magistrate as to whether the imposition of a purely nominalpenalty could have a deterrent effect. In a case decided by mybrother Middleton and myself the other day, we have held thatunder the law of this Colony it is competent for courts of firstinstance to inquire, after the conviction of accused persons beforethem, into the character and the antecedents of the persons soconvicted. Such inquiries must, of course, be held on oath. Itappears to me that the present case is ope in which the PoliceMagistrate should receive whatever legal evidence as to the characterand antecedents of the accused-respondents may be put before himeither by the prosecution or by the defence, and that he should fixthe penalty to be imposed in the light of that evidence. Dealingwith the case in revision, I affirm the convictions, but set aside thesentences, and send the case back for further inquiry on the linesthat I have indicated in this judgment.
ATTONEY – GENERAL v. KANDAIYA et al
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