PPEAL. against a conviction from the Magistrate’s Court of ColomboSouth.
H.V. Perera, K.C. (with him S. Nadesan and C. E. L. Wickremasinghe),for the accused, appellant.
T. S. Fernando, C.C., for the Attorney-General.
May 17, 1946. de Silva J.—
The charge against the accused in this case was that on November 21,1946, at the Ratmalana within the jurisdiction of this court in contra-vention of Regulation 17 (1) of the Defence (Miscellaneous) Regulationshe did an act, to wit, address a large number of persons engaged in theperformance of essential services thus :
“ Brothers, the other bus companies have stopped work to-dayto get their legitimate dues. You all like one body must fight shoulderto shoulder until you attain final victory
having reasonable cause to believe that such act will be likely to preventor interfere with the carrying on of their work by persons engaged in theperformance of essential services, and that he thereby committed anoffence under Regulation 17 (1) punishable under Regulation 62 (3)of the said Defence (Miscellaneous) Regulations. He was convicted ofthis charge and was sentenced to a term of three months’ rigorousimprisonment.
In appeal Mr. Perera on his behalf contends that the speech alleged tohave been made by the accused does not amount to an act which wouldprevent or interfere with the carrying on of the essential services asprovided in Regulation 17. He also contends that the charge set out isthat the accused used certain terms in Knglish whereas the evidence isthat the accused addressed the employees of the bus company in theSinhalese language, so that the evidence does not support the chargemade against the accused.
It is difficult to contend that where an argument or a speech is addressedto a person engaged in an essential service the fact that the personaddressed has the option of accepting that advice would make theargument or speech an act which would prevent or interfere with thecarrying out of the duties of that person. The act specified in theregulation appears to be some action which by itself would interfere withthe work of persons engaged in essential services, not an argument whichleaves the option to the person addressed either to follow it or toignore it.
There is separate provision in the Defence Regulations for dealing withpersons who strike or encourage strikes in essential services. So that itis to be presumed that Regulation 17 (1) was intended to meet offencesother than encouraging strikes.
240DE SILVA J.—if. M. Per era v. Police.
The witnesses have given the Sinhalese terms which were alleged tohave been used by the accused, but he was not charged with having usedsuch terms. Even if the charge had been regularly framed by settingout the terms used by the accused, Mr. Fernando for the Crown concedesthat the words do not necessarily mean that the accused urged theemployees to strike or to stop ork.
Tn the circumstances I find that the charge made against the accusedhas not been established. I set aside the conviction and acquit theaccused.
Appeal allowed.