HOWARD C.J.—The King v. Aldan.575
[Court of Criminal Appeal.]
1943 Present; Howard C.J., Wijeyewardene and Jayetileke JJ.
THE KING v. ALDON.
1—M. C. Kalutara, 19,380.
Murder—Doubt in minds of jury as to whether accused had murderous intent—Accused is entitled to benefit of doubt—Sentence—Penal Code s. 297.Where, in a charge of murder, the Court of Criminal Appeal is satisfiedthat there was some doubt as to whether the jury were of opinion thatthe accused had a murderous intention or merely the knowledge thatwhat he did was likely to cause death,—
Held, that the accused should be given the benefit of the doubt andsentenced under the latter part of section 297 of the Penal Code.
The King v. Ponnasamy (43 N.L.R. 359) followed.
PPEAL from a conviction by a Judge and Jury before the Western.Circuit.
Appellant in person.
Douglas Jansze C.C., for the Crown.
October 4, 194J. Howahd C.J.—
In this case, the appellant was charged with murder. In his chargeto the Jury, the learned Judge stated that there were no circumstancesof a mitigating character. We agree with that aspect of the learnedJudge’s charge.
The Jury found the accused not guilty of murder but guilty of culpablehomicide not amounting to murder. It would, therefore, appear, atfirst glance, that, as there were no mitigating circumstances, the Jury werenot satisfied that the appellant had a murderous intention and, therefore,his case comes within the second part of section 297 of the Penal'C’otjewhich prescribed a maximum sentence of ten years’ rigorous imprison-ment. After the verdict had been given the learned Judge put thisquestion to the Jury: “ I take it that you are under the impression thatthere might have been some kind of fight ”? The answer to that questionwas “ Yes, my Lord ”. That answer seems to imply that the Jury didconsider that there were circumstances of a mitigating character. Weare of opinion that there is some doubt as to whether the Jury were ofopinion that the accused had a murderous intention or merely theknowledge that what he did was likely to cause death. In these circumrstances, we think, following the decision of this Court in The King v.Ponnasamy', that the accused should have been given the benefit ofsuch doubt and sentenced under the second part of the section.
We, therefore, substitute for the 15 years’ rigorous imprisonment a.sentence of 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment.
» 43 N. L. R. 359.