HOWARD C.J.—■Kaththiriaratehi v. Rajamriya (I.P.).
1949Present: Howard C.J.KATHTHXRIARATCHI et al., Appellants, and RAJASUKIYA (I.P.),
498-499—M. C. Colombo, 14,395.
Defence (Miscellaneous) Regulation 52 (3) (b)—Property imported hy theNAA.FI—No presumption that it belongs to His Majesty's Government.
Where the accused were charged with possessing bottles of T^rrglisbbeer, property belonging to and intended for the use of His Majesty’sforces, and thereby committing an offence punishable under section52 (3) (&) of the Defence (Miscellaneous) Regulations—
Held, that property imported by the NAAFI for the use of His Majesty’stroops in Ceylon could not be regarded as the property of His Majesty’sGovernment in the absence of evidence as to the exact relationshipwhioh existed between the NAAFI and His Majesty’s Government.
PPEALS against two convictions from the Magistrate’s Court,Colombo.
H. V. Perera, K.C. (with him D. W. Fernando), for the accused*appellants.
P.T. Thamotheram, C.C., for the Attorney-General.
June 17, 1940. Howard C.J.—
In this case the accused were charged with possessing 137 bottles ofEnglish beer, property belonging to and intended for the use of HisMajesty’s forces and thereby committing an offence punishable underBeotion 52 (3) (b) of the Defence (Miscellaneous) Regulations. It was inevidence that the beer which was found in the accused’s premises wasJeffrey’s and Whitbread’s beer, both of which brands were imported bythe NAAFI, no doubt, for the use of His Majesty’s troops in Ceylon. Ithad to be established first of all that the beer belonged to His Majesty’sGovernment. There was no evidence as to the exact relationship whichexists between the NAAFI and His Majesty’s Government. It is a matterfor doubt as to whether property which is imported by the NAAFI isproperty of His Majesty’s Government. I am, therefore, of opinion thatthis point has not been established. A further objection was the factthat although the NAAFI did import these two brands of beer, yet upto July, 1944, those brands had been imported by various other Storesin this Island. In these circumstances it has not been proved beyondall reasonable doubt that this beer was not beer which might have beenimported before July, 1944, by some Store in Ceylon. Having beenimported, it may not possibly have found its way on to the marketuntil a much later date.
For these reasons the appeal must be allowed and the convictionsset aside.