HOWARD C.J.—Rodrigo v. Baelianaz (Inspector oj Police.)
1048Present: Howard C.J.RODRIGO, Appellant, and BASTIANSZ (INSPECTOR OF POLICE),
337—M.M.C. Colombo, 58,110.
Evidence—Cross-examination of accused as to bad character—Effect ofMagistrate's omission to reject it when convicting the accused.
Where the accused was cross-examined to show that he was of badcharacter and it was not possible to say that the Magistrate, when heconvicted the accused, was not influenced by this evidence—
Held, that the evidence of the bad character of the accused vitiatedhis conviction.
A PPEAL against a conviotion from the Municipal Magistrate’s Court,J~ Colombo.
N. Nadarajak, K.C. (with him E. B. Sathuriilculasinghe), for theaccused, appellant.
R.A. Kannangara, C.C., for the Attorney-General.
February 7, 1946. Howard C.J.—
In this case the appellant was charged with and convicted of keeping abrothel and sentenced to six months’ rigorous imprisonment. He appealsagainst this conviction on the ground that he was cross-examined to showthat he was of bad character. It appears from his cross-examinationthat he was asked whether Mr. Stork had charged him once for running abrothel. In answer to that question he said that the case failed. Hewas also asked if Mr. Stork had charged him for retaining stolen property.His answer to that was that he was not convicted for theft. He was alsoasked if he had been sentenced to jail. His answer to that question was“ Eight years ago ”. So it is obvious that there was a considerablevolume of evidence before tho Magistrate that the appellant was of badcharacter. It is perfectly true that the Court takes a different view of
CANNON J8. XJmma v. Mohamed.
evidence of bad character which has been introduced into a case whenthe accused is charged before a Judge and Jury and the same evidencewhen it is produced before a District Judge or Magistrate. CrownCounsel has referred me to the case of The King v. Perera1 where in spiteof the fact that evidence of bad character was improperly producedbefore the District Judge the conviction was upheld. But in that caseit would appear that the District Judge convicted on ample evidenceand it had not been suggested nor was it possible that in convicting theappellant he was in any way influenced by the faot that the latter hadbeen previously in jail. I do not think the same thing could be saidin this case. I do not think it can be said that it is not possible that theMagistrate was influenced by the faot that the- appellant had beenpreviously in jail. The reasons given by the Magistrate make noreference at all to this evidence of bad character which was producedbefore him and therefore it is not possible to say that he was uninfluencedby this evidence. In these circumstances the conviction is set asideand the appellant will be tried again by another Magistrate.