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QUEEN v. CARA ct al.
D. C. (Criminal), Kalutara, 650.
Criminal Procedure Code, 0. 75—Power of District Court to pass aggregatesentences—When it should be exercised.
A District Court convicting a person, at one trial, of two or moredistinct offences may sentence him to tho several punishments prescribedtherefor, provided the aggregate does not exceed four years.
The power of passing such sentences should not be exercised exceptwhen the offences are completely distinct in their character.
The distinct character of the offences is best indicated by the inten-tion of the offender.
Therefore, where house-breaking by night and theft were committedin the same dwelling-house, and the conduct of the accused showed onlythe single intention to commit an offence against property, held thatdistinct sentences should not be passed in such a- case.
HIS was an appeal from a conviction of the accused—first, ofcommitting house-breaking by night in order to commit
theft, and thereby committing an offence punishable under section443 of the Penal Code; and second, of committing theft in abuilding used as a human dwelling of a quantity of cloths, Ac.,and thereby committing an offence punishable under section 369of the Code. The District Judge sentenced each of the accusedto undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of two years forth§ first offence, and further to undergo rigorous imprisonmentfor a period of two years for the second offence, the second termof imprisonment to commence immediately after the expiry ofthe first term: in all to undergo each four years’ rigorous imprison-ment.
The accused appealed.
Domhorst, for appellants.
No appearance for respondent.
Cur. adv. vult*
16th December, 1895. Withers, J.—
Notwithstanding the able way in which he put his appeal,Mr. Domhorst failed to convince me that the verdict arrived at isa wrong one.
I reserved consideration of the sentences passed on the appel-lants. The 18th section of the Criminal Procedure Code seemsto me clearly to enact that, when a person is convicted at onetrial of two or more distinct offences, the Court may sentence himfor such offences to the several punishments prescribed therefor
December 11und 16.
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which such Coui*t is competent to inflict, provided that, if thecase is tried by a District or Police Court, the aggregate shallnot exceed twice the amount of punishment which such Court inthe exercise of its ordinary jurisdiction is competent to inflict.
Hence, a District Court is competent in such a case to passsentences aggregating four years.
Such a power should not, however, be exercised except whenthe offences are completely distinct in their character. Thedistinct character of the offences will be best indicated by theintention of the offender. If, e.g., the dominant intention is toinjure the person, there should be but one punishment, thoughthe transaction in its entirety discloses more than one inquiry tothe same person.
If the transaction, on the other hand, discloses an intention tocommit a crime against the person as well as the property of theinjured person, the punishments may and should be distinct. Letme illustrate what I mean. If A commit the offence of rapeagainst B, and then and there commits theft from B’s person, hisconduct indicates the intention of committing two offences whollydistinct in character, and separate sentences would be appro-priately passed upon him in such a case. Lust and greed are alikegratified.
In this case, to use the language of the old Criminal Law, therewas burglary and theft from a dwelling-house in one and the sametransaction. The single intention, as disclosed by the conduct ofthe appellants, was to commit an offence against property. Inconsequence, one sentence should have been passed, in my opinion.
I therefore reduce the sentence against each of the appellantsfrom four to two years' rigorous imprisonment.
QUEEN v. CARA ct al