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EODEIGO v. FEENANDO.P. C., Kalutara, 7,043.
Criminal Procedure Code, s. 190—Recording verdict forthwith after hearing—Criminal trespass by landlord on premises occupied by tenant—Entryinto garden.
It is important that a Magistrate should observe the requirementsof section 190 of the Criminal Procedure Coda as to the duty ofrecording his verdict of acquittal or guilty forthwith after hearing theevidence for the prosecution and defence.
An entry by the landlord into his garden let to a tenant, with intentto commit an offence or to annoy him, is criminal trespass.
HIS was a prosecution for criminal trespass by a tenantagainst his landlord and those who had helped him in the
The complainant, in giving his evidence, said that under anotarial lease he was in occupation of a house belonging to thefirst accused, with liberty to complete a half-built house and putup any other building that might be necessary on the premiseswherein the house stood; that he, with the view of erecting ashed for his horse and carriage, directed a cooly to prepare apiece of ground adjoining his house in order to put up the stables;and that when this work was going on, the first accused, accom-panied by the other accused, interfered with the work, abusedthe complainant and his cooly, filled up the holes that had beendug, made a great noise, and used indecent language to thecomplainant and his cooly.
The Police Magistrate was of opinion that, even if the lan llordthought that his tenant was infringing any covenant in the deedof lease, he was not justified in entering the premises andinterfering with the work of the complainant in the manner theydid, and that their object in going there was to insult and annoythe complainant. He sentenced them each to pay a fine of Es. 20.
Dornhorst (Peris with him), for appellant.
H. J. C. Pereira (Schneider with him), for respondent.
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80th May, 1899. Withers, J.—
The accused in this case has been convicted of the offence ofcriminal trespass, and their appeal is on matters of law only.One of the points of law taken, and I think very properly notpressed in this case, was that, inasmuch as the Magistrate had notgiven judgment, forthwith, his judgment was of no force oreffect. I mention the matter because it is very important that aMagistrate should observe the requirements of. section 190 of“ The Criminal Procedure Code, 1898,” which enacts that aMagistrate shall, after taking “ the evidence for the prosecutionand defence, forthwith record a verdict of acquittal or guilty ashe may find.” If this point had been pressed, I might have hadto send the case back for a re-trial, which would not have beenat all satisfactory.
The other point is this: Can a landlord commit the offence ofcriminal trespass on premises possessed or occupied by his tenant?The facts relating to this part of the case appear to be these. Atthe time of the alleged offence the complainant was in possessionof a house and its adjuncts under a notarial contract of 'hire andlease with the defendant. That house stands in a cocoanut gardenwhich was not comprised in the lease, but the complainant maywell be considered an occupant of the garden round his house.Here the entry was into the garden and not into the house. Now,in that state of things I have no doubt that- an entry by the land-lord into the garden, with intent to commit an offence or tointimidate, insult, or annoy the complainant, constitutes criminaltrespass. This is not the first time, of course, that I have con-sidered the offence of criminal trespass as defined by our Code,and I cannot help thinking it was intended to expand the Englishcommon law offence of forcible entry to other cases of entry uponproperty with criminal or wrongful intent. Now, there can beno doubt by the English law that, if one who had a legal title toa land enters it by violence or by show of force when the land isin possession of another, he commits the offence of forcible entry.
. In Newton v. Holland (I M. & G. 644), the judges thought that alandlord might be guilty of forcible entry after the tenant’s term,had expired, both at common law and under the statutes. Hawkins,in 'his Pleas of the Crown (book I., chap. 64, section 33), states thatthe possession of a joint tenant or tenant in common is such apossession as may be the subject of a forcible entry by hisco-tenant, for though the entry of the latter be lawful per mic etper tout so that he cannot in any case be punished for it in anaction for trespass, yet the lawfulness of the entry is no excusefor the violence.
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Here the right of the landlord to go into his garden was noexcuse for him to go there to intimidate and insult the occupant.Mr. Dornhorst called my attention to a passage in Starling’sIndian Criminal Law, where the author states the following propo-sition:—“ The entrance of a member of a joint Hindu familyinto the family dwelling-place cannot be criminal trespass, noris the entry of a stranger with the permission and license ofone of the members,” and in support of this statement the writercites in re Ramp, Krishna Chandra, 6 Bengal Law Reports,Appeal 80, and 15 W. R. 6. Unfortunately I have not thesereports to refer to, but I should want very strong authority tosatisfy me that that is sound law. However, the circumstancesare not the same. From one point of view I should regard an entryby a landlord into the premises occupied by his tenant with theintent to intimidate, insult, or annoy him, as a worse offence thanif committed by a stranger, because the landlord is bound by hiscontract of lease to suffer his tenant to have the free enjoymentof his premises. Affirmed.
RODRIGO v. FERNANDO