SOERTSZ A.J.—Soysa v. James Singho.
1935Present : Soertsz A.J.
SOYSA v. JAMES SINGHO.547—P. C. Colombo, 32,127.
Loadometer—Carrying goods in a lorry in excess of licensed weight—Weighttested by loadometer—Evidence of officer responsible for test—MotorCain Ordinance, No. 20 of 1927, s. 63 (I).
Where the driver of a motor lorry was charged with carrying goodsin excess of the weight it was licensed to carry and the case against theaccused depended upon the weight of the lorry being ascertained bymeans of a loadometer,—
Held, that, after a loadometer has been used for the purpose, aresponsible officer should test its accuracy and depose to that fact,if the prosecution intends to rely on the weight so ascertained.
PPEAL from a conviction by the Police Magistrate of Colombo.
L. A. Rajapaksa (with him N. M. de Silva), for accused, appellant.
■Cur. adv. vult.
October 10, 1935. Soertsz A.J.—
The accused in this case was charged under section 63 (1) of OrdinanceNo. 20 of 1927, with having carried 616 lb. of goods in excess of theweight the lorry he was the driver of had been licensed to carry. Hewas found guilty by the Magistrate and fined Rs. 20; in default, threeweeks’ rigorous imprisonment.
The appeal is taken with the leave of the Magistrate. The case againstthe accused depends upon a weight ascertained by a new device calleda “ loadometer ” which is said to enable one to ascertain the full weightof the laden lorry by weighing each of its wheels in turn and addingthe results together. A device such as this is a very desirable thing ina mechanical age such as ours is, but it is necessary that these devicesshould be accurate before persons can be brought within the reach of thecriminal law by the results they yield. In this particular case, InspectorZoysa, who used the loadometer to ascertain the weight of the lorry
Peiris v. Commissioner of Income Tax.
says, “ I cannot say the condition of this loadometer. The loadometerwas tested some time back. I think the loadometer was accurateThat is all the evidence we have with regard to the efficiency of theloadometer. It is desirable that, if the prosecution intends to rely uponresults ascertained in this manner, soon after a loadometer hasbeen used for the purpose in question, some responsible person acquaintedwith its mechanism should test it to see that it is accurate at the crucialtime, and he should, thereafter, be called as a witness to depose tothat fact.
My confidence in this loadometer wavers somewhat when I find thatit is conceded by the prosecution witness that he would not charge anaccused person unless the overload was in thd neighbourhood of 5 cwt.
do not know whether when he said this he meant to indicate thatthat was a possible margin of error. If that is what he meant, it will, Ithink, be putting too fine a point upon this case, to say that the accusedbrought himself within the law because the weight registered when thismachine was used on the occasion in question exceeded 5 cwt. by only
qrs. In the circumstances I think, to say the least, there is a sub-stantial doubt with regard to the guilt of the accused in the case, to thebenefit of which he is entitled. I, therefore, set aside the conviction andacquit him.
SOYSA v. JAMES SINGHO