Ponnudurai v. Anakoddai Police.
1947Present: Windham J.PONNUDURAI, Appellant, and ANAKODDAI POLICE,Respondent.S. O. 1,241—M. G. Jaffna, 7,363.
Penal Code, a. ISO—diving false information—Knowledge or belief of falsity—Necessary element.
In a prosecution under section 180 of the Penal Code for giving false infor-mation to a public servant it is a necessary element for a conviction that theaccused himself should have known or believed his statement to be false.
A. O. A., MuUaitivu v. Selvadurai, 41 N. L. R. 463 followed.
WINDHAM J.—Ponnudurax v. Anakoddax Police.
_A-PPEAXi from a judgment of the Magistrate, Jaffna.
H. W. Thambiah, with S. Sharvananda, for the accused, appellant.Boyd Jayasuriya, G.C., for the Attorney-General.
December 8, 1947. Windham J.—
This is an appeal against the conviction of the accused upon a chargeunder section 180 of the Penal Code, namely, giving false informationto a Police Officer, knowing it to be false. The statement said to havebeen a false one was a complaint by the accused to the Police against oneNagarajah, that the latter had threatened to stab him with a clasp knife.The relevant words of the complaint were as follows :■—At this timeMylvaganam’s son Nagarajah who was behind me, took a clasp knifeand threatened to stab me ”. Upon this complaint Nagarajah wascharged and in the course of giving evidence in that ease the presentaccused stated as follows :—“ This accused came up and pushed me.
I did not see the knife ”. It is contended for the prosecution in thepresent case that this statement to the Police was known by the accusedto be false, in that it can only reasonably be construed as a statementby this accused that he had actually seen Nagarajah threatening to stabhim with a clasp knife and it must therefore have been known to be falsewhen it was made, since later he denied having seen Nagarajah with aknife. I do not think this interpretation must necessarily be placedon the former statement to the Police. In that former statement theaccused does not say that he saw Nagarajah threatening to stab him.He merely stated that Nagarajah had threatened to stab him. Thismay well have been a statement based on what other persons presentat the time of the assault had told this accused. It is undisputed thatother persons were presentat the time. The words, “ who was behind me”would seem to support this interpretation. It may well be that what thisaccused said in his complaint was not what he himself had seen, but merelywhat he had been told by others had occurred. But that does notrender him liable under section 180. Under that section the prosecutionmust prove beyond reasonable doubt that the statement made by theaccused was known or believed by him to be false. The accused may wellhave believed his statement to be true, although he himself had not seenNagarajah threatening to stab him, and at the trial of the present caseby the learned Magistrate, one Ponnusamy did testify that he had beenpresent at the time of the assault, and he had seen Nagarajah going tostab this accused with a clasp knife. It is true that Ponnusamy wasnot called as a witness for the prosecution of Nagarajah, but his namewas mentioned by the accused in his statement to the Police as havingbeen one of the persons present at the assault. All these circumstancesare consistent with the accused having believed what he stated to thePolice, namely, that Nagarajah had tried to stab him with a clasp knife,
DIAS J.—The Attorney-General v. Dharmaeena.
to be true. The prosecution accordingly failed to prove a necessaryelement for a conviction under section 180, namely, that the accusedhimself had known or believed his statement to be false. Vide A. G. A.,MuUailtivu v. Selvadurai 1. The appeal is accordingly allowed, and theaccused acquitted and discharged.