Gunapala v. Attorney General (Kulatilaka, J.)
The learned counsel who appeared for the appellantsubmitted that the appellant was not given an opportunity ofanswering the charge of Contempt of Court levelled againsthim. He could not avail himself of the services of anAttorney-at-Law. In this regard the learned counsel referred usto Article 13(3) of the Constitution which reads as follows:
“Any person charged with an offence shall be entitled to beheard in person or by an Attomey-at-Law at a fair trial bya competent Court”.
Under Section 195(g) of the Criminal Procedure Code oneof the duties of the High Court Judge when serving anindictment on an accused person is to ask the accusedwhether he requires an Attomey-at-Law to be assigned to himfor his defence and if he so requests to assign a counsel. We seeno reason why a witness in the main case in a High Court trialwhen charged with an offence of Contempt of Court for givingfalse evidence which is a criminal offence should be deprivedof such a facility. Hence, we see merit and substance in thesubmissions tendered to Court by the learned counsel for theappellant.
Further on a careful scrutiny of the order made by thelearned trial Judge, we find that he has failed to give reasonsfor the conviction. In terms of Section 449(1) of the Code ofCriminal Procedure Act it is a mandatory requirement that thejudge should give reasons for imposing sentence. His failure todo so is a grave error of law.
. For the aforesaid reasons we are of the considered viewthat the impugned proceedings are invalid. In thecircumstances we set aside the conviction and the sentenceimposed by the learned trial Judge and accordingly we acquitthe appellant.
YAPA, J. I agree.
Appeal allowed.