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PODI S1NHO v. MEYA.P. C., Colombo, 65,222.
Criminal Procedure Code, e. 413—Disposal of property stolen—“ Conclusion "
of inquiry—Acquittal of accused—Restoration of stolen property.
The acquittal of an accused charged with theft before all thewitnesses for the prosecution have been examined “ concludes” a trialor inquiry under section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
After the trial or inquiry is so concluded a Police Magistrate mayorder the stolen property to be delivered to complainant as the rightfulowner.
Silva v. Rajelis (1 C. L. R. 39) followed.
HE accused was charged with the theft of a bull. The
complainant deposed that he had hired the bull to onePitehe eleven months ago; that on the 6th June, when he askedPitche for the hire, Pitehe informed him that the bull was dead;that on the 18th June he found the accused in possession of theanimal, and trying to sell it.
The accused said he bought the bull from the complainant,which the latter denied.
Thereupon the Police Magistrate acquitted the accused, butordered the bull to be delivered to the complainant.
The accused appealed against this order of delivery.
Jay award-ana, for accused, appellant.—The order com-plained of could be made only under section 413 of the CriminalProcedure Code, but here the trial was not concluded. [Bonser,C.J.—How can a trial be better concluded than by acquitting theaccused?] But the Magistrate made the order without examiningwitnesses, and the order of delivery to a person other than theaccused is wrong.
H. J. C. Pereira, for respondent.—Silva v. Rajelis (1 C. u. R.39) is on all fours with the present case.
6th July, 1900. Boxser, C.J.—
This is an appeal from an order made by the Police Magistratefor the delivery of a bull to the complainant. The complainantcharged the appellant with stealing his bull. It appears that thecomplainant had hired out this bull to a third person, who paidhim hire for it. Shortly before the case the complainant, onasking for the hire of the bull, was told by the hirer that the bullwas dead. The bull was, however, not dead, for it was discoveredby the complainant in the possession of the appellant, and hencethis proceeding. The appellant stated that he had bought the
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bull from the hirer. The Magistrate, believing his statement,acquitted him, and made the order complained of.
It was aruged that the Magistrate had no jurisdiction to makethis order, because section 413 of the Criminal Procedure Code,under which the order was made, says that it is to be made in acase when an inquiry or trial in any Criminal Court is concluded;but here, the counsel for the appellant urged, the trial was notconcluded, because the accused was acquitted after the complain-ant and one witness only had been examined for the prosecution,although the complainant had half a dozen more witnesses whomhe might have called. I must say that I cannot appreciate thisobjection. If a trial is not concluded when the accused isacquitted, I am at a loss to understand when it is concluded.
Then it was urged that no offence appears to have been committedwith regard to this bull, because the accused was acquitted. ButI have been referred to a case which is on all fours with thepresent one, decided by my predecessor in this chair, Silva v.Rajelis (1 C. L. R. 39). That case concludes the present appeal,which must he and is now dismissed.