( 252 )
Present: liyall Urant J.
SILVA t?. NONIS.614—P. C. Oampaha, 9,260.
Arrest without sufficient grovid—Order for compensation—Proof—Criminal Procedure Codet s. 253 (c).
Before an order for compensation is made against a complainant
under section 253 (c) it must be clearly established that thorpwas. no sufficient ground for causing the arrest.
^^PPEAL from an order of the Police Magistrate of Gampaha.
Rajapakse, for appellant.
Deraniyagala, for respondents.
November 13, 19^9. Lyall Grant J.—
This was a case brought by the Police against two accused persons.The first accused was charged with causing hurt with a cuttinginstrument, viz., a mamoty, to one Sooriya Wijeratne, and thesecond accused was charged with having at the same time and placecaused hurt to one Thomas Caldera with a manna knife. Thelearned Magistrate acquitted the accused at the close of the case forthe prosecution and he called upon the informant, Silvester Silva, to
( 253 )
show cause under section 253 (c) of the Criminal Procedure Codewhy he should not be ordered to pay compensation to the firstaccused for causing a Peace Officer to arrest him on a charge ofcausing hurt with a mamoty when there was no sufficient groundfor causing such arrest. When he was called upon, the informant.Silva, said “ The complaint made is true.'* Thereupon the Magis-trate convicted him under section 253 (c) and ordered him to pay tothe first accused Bs. 20 as compensation and in default of paymentto undergo two weeks' simple imprisonment. The Magistrate thencalled upon one Sebastian Perera to show cause under the samesection why he should not be ordered to pay compensation to thesecond accused for causing a Peace Officer to arrest him on a chargeof causing hurt to one Thomas Caldera with a manna knife whenthere was no sufficient ground for causing such arrest. Pererawhen called upon said “ I did not make a false complaint."Thereupon he was convicted under the same section and ordered topay to the second accused Bs. 20 as compensation and in default ofpayment to undergo two weeks' simple imprisonment. Againstthese orders Silva and Perera appeal.
The learned Magistrate gives as his reasons for these convictionsthat the medical evidence clearly establishes the fact that the injuredmen could not have received the injuries in the manner deposed toby them. In the case of the second complainant the Magistratesays that the doctor's evidence clearly shows that he could not havereceived the injury he found on him by a manna knife.
I do not think, however, that the medical evidence is so completelyincompatible with the complainant's stories as the learnedMagistrate thinks. In examination-in-chief the District MedicalOfficer stated that Silva had an angular lacerated wound at theroot of the left big toe caused by a cutting instrument with a bluntedge. He says that it could have been caused with the blade of amamoty. He stated that Thomas Caldera had a punctured woundf in. by J in. by the outer border of the back of the left forearm alittle above the wrist which had been caused by a pointed weapon.He says it could have been caused by a manna knife. In regardto the latter injury the Medical Officer varied a good deal in hisevidence, because in cross-examination apparently he said that itcould not have been caused by a manna knife, but it is quite clearthat his reason for this variation was that in his opinion it must havebeen caused by a sharp pointed weapon. No knife has beenproduced, and there is nothing in the evidence to show that the so-called manna knife may not have had a sharp point. The learnedMagistrate has clearly over-estimated the weight of the medicalevidence as against that of the informant. The doctor was ofopinion that it was not probable that the injury could have beenself-inflicted.
( 254 )
The only point taken by the Medical Officer against the descriptionby the first complainant as to how he received his injury was that ifthe parties had been standing in the way described by him the skinwould have been cut or lifted towards the assailant, instead of whichthe skin was cut and lifted towards the injured man's body.
Against the theory of the self-infliction of these injuries is the factthat immediate complaint was made to the headman of the injuriessuffered, and that both Silva and Perera made their complaintsagainst the first and second accused respectively.
The story of the informants is further supported by two eye-witnesses, one of whom says that he saw Silva being cut with amamoty. by the first accused and that he heard Thomas Calderacrying out that he had been cut by the second accused.. Silvaappears to have been rather seriously injured, as this witness says“ we brought him to Perera's house." The other witnesscorroborates the fact that the first accused cut Silva with a mamotyand that the second accused cut Thomas Caldera with a mannaknife.
Before a complainant can be convicted under section 253 (c) itmust be clearly established that there was no sufficient groundfor the complainant causing the arrest. Here it has certainly notbeen proved that the injuries were self-inflicted, and ail the evidencegoes to show that they were inflicted by the persons charged. Evenif the Magistrate thought that the case was not proved beyondreasonable doubt, he was not in my opinion justified in coming tothe conclusion that the evidence establishes the fact that there wasno sufficient ground for causing the arrest. In regard to the medicalevidence, I have already pointed out that, so far as the MedicalOfficer's opinion as to the use of the manna knife is concerned,it is by no means conclusive as against the second informant. Inregard to the use of the mamoty, the Medical Officer's opinion, evenif it is correct, merely relates to the precise manner in which theinjury was inflicted. It is quite possible that the injury wasinflicted by the first accused and yet that it was not inflicted in theprecise manner described by the informant. The informant mayhave given a perfectly honest account of what in his opinionhappened, but his observation in the course of a rough-and-tumblestruggle may not have been quite accurate. That is a very .differentthing from bringing a totally false charge.
On the question of conflict between the Medical Officer’s opinionand the evidence of the witnesses as a ground for conviction andcompensation, I would refer to a judgment of Wood Benton C,;T.iu the case of King v. Appvhamy.1 In the case of Richard v. Peter2Ennis J. pointed out that the fact that the Magistrate was unable
1 Balasingham, Notes of Cases, p. 8.* Wijeywardena, Reports, 48.
to place reliance on the evidence called is not a sufficient groundfor inflicting, a fine under section 54 of the Police Ordinance forbringing a false and frivolous charge. There it did not transpire thatthe witnesses were not speaking the truth, and their statments werenot contradicted by any witnesses whose evidence had been recorded.That, I think, is substantially the state of affairs in the present case.The appeals are allowed and the convictions quashed.
SILVA v. NONIS