HOWARD C.J.—The King v. Charlis Singho.
(Court of Criminal Appeal)
1941Present : Howard C.J-, Nihil! and Cannon JJ.THE KING v. CHARLIS SINGHO et al.
27—M. C. Matara, 35.251.
Verdict—Charge of attempted murder and causing hurt as member of unlawfulassembly—Ambiguity of verdict—Conviction quashed.
The second and third accused were charged, firstly with being membersof an unlawful assembly, in the course of which they committed the offenceof the attempted murder of a Sub-Inspector, and also being members ofan unlawful assembly, with voluntarily causing hurt to a police constable.
The Jury found that the charge of unlawful assembly was not established.They then proceeded to find the first accused guilty of attempted murderand the second and third accused guilty of voluntarily causing hurt.
The findings did not specify whether the second and third accused werefound guilty of causing hurt to the Sub-Inspector or to the police constable.
Held, that the conviction of the second and third accused was bad, owingto the ambiguity) of the verdict.
ASE heard before the Judge and Jury at the Southern Court.
L. A. Raja-pakse (with him Mackenzie Pereira), for accused, applicants.H. IV. R.- Weerasooriya, C.C., for the Crown.
Gur. adv. vult.
December 15; 1941. Howard C.J.—
In this case Mr. Rajapakse, who appears for the appellants, does notpress the case with regard to the first accused. There is no doubt thatthe first accused was convicted on substantial evidence; the finding andsentence in his ease are, therefore, affirmed.
With regard to the second and the third accused, it appears that theywere charged, firstly, with being members of an unlawful assembly, in thecourse of which they committed the offence of the attempted murder ofSub-Inspector Grenier, and, secondly, again, as being members of inunlawful assembly, with voluntarily causing hurt to police constable Zain.The Jury found that the charge of unlawful assembly was not established;they then proceeded to find the first accused guilty of attempted murder,and the second accused guilty of voluntarily causing hurt, and the thirdaccused .also guilty of causing hurt. These findings do not specify whetherthe second and the. third accused were found guilty of causing hurt toSub-Inspector Grenier, to police constable Zain, or to both of them. Itwas open to the Jury to find the second and the third accused guilty ofcausing hurt to either Grenier or Zain. There is, therefore, an ambiguityin the verdict which, in our opinion, cannot be cured. If we were tosay that the offence of causing hurt to either Grenier or Zain had beenestablished, we would be arrogating to ourselves the functions of the Jury.In these circumstances, the appeal must be allowed with regard to thesecond and the third accused, and the verdict and sentence set aside.
HEARNJE J.—-Nagoda Omnibus Co., Ltd., and The Comr. of Motor Transport.
We have given careful consideration to the question-as to whether thereshould be a new trial. The offence took place some time ago, and the trialhas had a chequered career. Proceedings, first of all, were taken in asummary manner, and then the course of the Crown was changed, andnon-summary proceedings were taken. We do not, in these circumstances,think that this is a case in which a new trial should be ordered.
Verdict set aside.
THE KING v. CHARLIS SINGHO et al