REID v. KIBIWANTI.
P. C., Badulla-Haldummulla, 11,420.
Dishonestly receiving and retaining stolen property—Penal Code, s. 894—Identity of tea stolen—Evidence of experts—Adjournment of hearing toenable complainant to make further inquiry —Criminal Procedure Code,s. S89—“ Reasonable cause " for adjournment.
On a charge of dishonestly receiving an^ retaining orange pekoe tea,stolen from the complainant, the superintendent and the. teamaker of theestate where the tea was made, being experts, may be called to prove thatthe tea found with the accused was of their manufacture. Their opinionas to the identity of the tea should carry weight.>
Middleton, J.—Under section 289 of the Criminal Procedure Codeit would not be “ reasonable' cause " to adjourn a case whenever theprosecution desires to make further inquiry, but I think myself thatthere are cases in which the Magistrate might deem it expedient to granta postponement for further inquiry, which might be deemed reasonablecause for such adjournment. The police, for instance, in making aninquiry may want to get further evidence, and I think, if the policeapply for an adjournment to make ' further inquiry, that that would be''an adjournment for a reasonable cause.
Gomis v. Agoris, 2 N. L. R. 180, not followed.
fJlHE judgment of Middleton, J., explains the facts of the case.
De Alwis, for accused, appellant.
Domhorst, K.G., for respondent.
19th February, 1903. Middleton, J.—
In this case the accused has been found guilty of receiving andretaining stolen property knowing the same .to -have been stolen,to wit, orange pekoe tea, and sentenced to six months’ imprison-ment.
On the appeal lodged against that conviction it was argued, first,that .the charge is defective, inasmuch as the quantity of tea allegedto have been received is not stated. That is certainly the case,but I think that that is a defect which, if I amend it, will notprejudice the accused.
. Then there is said to be a serioCB irregularity, on the groundthat the hearing was postponed for further inquiry to be paade.sThat adjournment was granted by the Magistrate under section289 of the Criminal Procedure Code. He certainly had the power topostpone or adjourn the .hearing on the ground of the absence ofwitnesses or for any other reasonable cause. Now, it has beende sided, in a case by Mr. Justice Withers reported in 2 11. L. B.180, that it was not " reasonable^ ” fio adjourn a case where the
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1903. prosecution desired to make further inquiry. In every case iFebruary 10. certainly would not be reasonable cause, but I think myself tht»«MiDDiETox, there are cases in which the Magistrate might deem it expedient<T- to grant a postponement for further inquiry, which might bedeemed reasonable cause for such adjournment. The police, forinstance, in making an inquiry may want to get further evidence,and I think, if .the police apply for an adjournment tp make furtherinquiry, that that would be an adjournment for a reasonablecause. So I do not think that that is a ground for quashing the
conviction in this case.<
On the merits, the Magistrate has found that this tea whichwas found in a bottle in an uninfused state was the property ofthe superintendent of the Haputale estate. He was called, and sowas his teamaker, both of whom are experts in tea, and both wereof opinion that the tea was of their manufacture, a conclusion, tomy mind, not unreasonable. Both were experts and accustomedto deal with tea, and their opinion should carry weight. In thesame way a fanner dealing with wheat is certainly competent toidentify his own wheat. I do not think therefore that the Magis-'Yrate was wrong in holding that the teamaker and the superin-tendent had established that the 'tea in question was the teamanufactured by them, If then the tea belonged to them, wthere evidence to show that this man received it knowing it fchave been stolen. The Magistrate believed the witness SuppaivaHe heard his evidence and he believed him. If Suppaiya, then, bto be believed, it seems to me that there is evidence upon whicthe Magistrate could say that this tea formed part of some tetwhich had been received by the accused with knowledge that itwas stolen. The accused says that the tea taken from the factorywas not .the tea found in his possession. On the other hand, thereis strong evidence to show that it was the same tea.
I think, putting aside all the evidence that has' been calledsubsequent to the adjournment given by the Magistrate, there issufficient evidence for the Magistrate to have arrived at the con-clusion that he has arrived at.
As regards the value of the tea, I direct that the conviction beamended by inserting the value of the tea found in the possessionof the accused, and that the conviction do stand subject to suchamendment.
REID v. KIRIWANTI