HOWARD CJ.—The King v. de Saram.
[Court of Criminal Appeal.]
1941 Present: Howard C.J., Soertsz and Wijeyewardene JJ.
THE KING v. E. M. T. de SARAM.
M. C. Hambantota, 6,857.
Sentence—Discretion of Judge—Sentence manifestly excessive—Court ofCriminal Appeal.
The Court of Criminal Appeal will not interfere with the discretion ofthe trial Judge with regard to the sentence unless that discretion hasbeen exercised on a wrong principle or unless the sentence is manifestlyexcessive,
HIS was an appeal from a conviction by a Judge and jury before theSouthern Circuit.
J. R. Jayawardene (with him H. W. Jay aw ar dene), for the appellant.
E. H. T. Gunasekera, C.C., for the Crown.
July 30, 1941. Howard C.J.—
Mr. Jayawardene on this appeal has contended that the learned Judgemisdirected the jury in putting to them the possibility that the injuriesreceived by the deceased arose on a sudden fight and that if this defencehad not been put to the jury they would havd^found that the appellantwas acting in the exercise of the right of private defence and was' thereforeentitled to be acquitted. We are unable to accept this contention andconsider that the learned Judge was perfectly right in putting the possibledefence that the deceased received his injuries in the course of a suddenfight to the jury inasmuch as there was evidence to this effect.
With regard to the sentence, it has been laid down by this Court onseveral occasions that it is most reluctant to interfere with the discretionof the Judge in -this matter. This Court will only interfere when it isobvious that that discretion has been exercised on a wrong principle or ifthe sentence is manifestly excessive. We think that in this case thesentence is manifestly excessive. It is just possible that in passingsentence the learned Judge lost sight of the fact that the accused was ofprevious good character and also—the most important point of all—received severe injuries when the deceased met with his death. In thesecircumstances we reduce the sentence to one of 5 years’ rigorousimprisonment. The appeal and the application are otherwise dismissed.
THE KING v. E. M. T. DE SARAM