H. 1ST. G-. ITS RNANDO, J.—Sumanasekara v. S. 1. Police,, Mila
1957Present: H. N, G. Fernando, J.
SrrTM A 1ST ANKARA et al.. Appellants, and S. I. POLICE, HILT, A,
S. G. 725—728—M. G. Badulla-BalduonuUa, 22029
Criminal procedure—Summary case—End of trial—Right of accused or his pleaderto address Court—Criminal Procedure Code, ss. 189 (3), 211, 235.
In the trial of a summary case under Chapter 18 of the Criminal ProcedureCode the accused person or his pleader is not entitled as of right to address theCourt after the evidence for the defence has been led.
z A PPEALS from a judgment of the Magistrate’s Court, Badulla-Haldumulla.
M. M. Kvmarahulasiriglumb, for the accused-appellants.
F. B. Wihramanaydke, Crown Counsel, for the Attorney-General.
Gur. adv. vult.
June 14, 1957. H. N. G. Pee3STA29I>o, J.—
The accused in this case have been bound over on charges of simplehurt and criminal force under section 325 of the Criminal ProcedureCode. No substantial complaint is made about the correctness of thefindings of fact against them, but it is necessary for me to consider acriticism of the conduct of the trial which has been made bv the Counselfor the appellants.
After the evidence for the prosecution and the defence had beenrecorded and after the Proctor for the defence had addressed the Courtfor some time the Magistrate made the following minute:—“ I amrefusing to hear Mr. Nadarajah further. He has addressed me for abouthalf an hour ”, and then proceeded to find the charges proved.
It is urged that the Magistrate had no power to “ stop ” the addressof the accused’s pleader and that his doing so constituted an improperinterference with the rights of the pleader for the defence.
The only authority to which I was referred was the case of R&uxl ».Perera x. In that case the Proctor for the defence was addressing theCourt in pursuance of the right conferred by sub-section (3) of section189 of the Criminal Procedure Code to open his case ” after the recordingof the evidence for the prosecution but was “ stopped ” by the Magistrate.Bertram C- J. observed that the Code “ nowhere allows a Magistrateto impose any time limit either in cross-examination or on the remarksof pleaders ” and also that “ in many cases a pleader cannot effectuallyopen his case without commenting on the evidence for the prosecution”.The learned Chief Justice also rejected out of hand the argument that“in opening his case the pleader is not entitled to comment on theevidence for the prosecution. ”
(1922) 24 N. L. R. 456.
Munasinghe v. Jayasinghe
With these observations I fully and respectfully agree, for the reasonthat an express right “ to open his case ” is conferred by section 189on the accused’s pleader, and that that right •would be meaninglessunless it enabled the pleader to refer to the strength and the weaknessof the prosecution and the manner in which it was proposed by evidencefor the defence to undermine any such strength or underline any suchweakness. But Chapter XVTTT of the Code does not make any provisionauthorising a pleader for the defence to address the Court after theevidence for the defence has been led. There is nothing in this Chaptercorresponding to the provisions in section 211 and section 235 whichexpressly enable an accused person or his pleader in trials before theDistrict Court or the Supreme Court to sum up the case for the defenceafter all the evidence has been recorded. It would seem therefore thatthe right of an accused or his pleader to be heard after the close of thecase for the defence in a Magistrate’s Court is not statutory, but arisesfrom practice which has apparently hardened into a rule. But theremust be in reason a residuum of discretion in the Court to impose atime limit on the length of the address having regard to the circumstancesof each particular case. In the present case I am unable to say that itwas unreasonable for the Magistrate to “ stop ” the proctor for theaccused after hearing him for half an hour.
The appeals are dismissed.
SUMANASEKARA et al ,Appellants, and S. I. POLICE , ELLA , Respondent