WIJEYEWARDENE J.—The King v. Goonewardene.
1943Present: Wijeyewardene J.
THE KING v. GOONEWARDENE.
78—M. C. Colombo, 44,694.
Confession—Made in answer to questions—Assuming the guilt of accused—Evidence Ordinance, s. 24.
A confession made by an accused, which is otherwise admissible, doesnot become inadmissible merely because it is elicited in answer to questions,which are put to him in a leading form or which assume his guilt.
HIS was a case heard before Wijeyewardene J. and a Jury on theWestern Circuit, 1943.
R. L. Pereira, K.C. (with him W. S. de Saram, C. Stmt her aling am andN. Rajaratnam) for accused.
Jansze, C.C., for the Crown.
Cur. adv. vult,
February 23, 1943. Wijeyewardene J.—
In this case the question arises as to the admissibility of a confessionalleged to have been made by the accused to Mr. Aiyangar, Agent of theIndian Bank, on April 7, 1942.
The accused was a ledger-keeper employed in the Indian Bank. He ischarged under section 487 of the Ceylon Penal Code with having falsifiedthree books, P 1, P 6, and P 5 by making certain false credit entries anddebit entries. According to the Crown the irregularities were discoveredon April 6, 1942.
1 66 L. T. 690.
*53 T. L. R. 98.
WIJEYEWARDENE J.—The King v. Goonewardene.
Mr. Aiyangar instructed the Accountant on April 7, 1942, to se»dytheaccused to his room on his arrival at the Bank. Accordingly, theaccused was directed by the Accountant to meet Mr. Aiyangar thatmorning. When the accused entered the room of Mr. Aiyangar, thelatter said “ What! You have made false debits of Rs. 30,000 andRs. 4,000 in Madavan’s account! ” The accused® bowed his head and thenMr. Aiyangar put the question, “ What are the other false debits you havemade ? ”. The accused is then said to have stated that he made a falsedebit entry in the account of the estate of Natchiapga Chettiar.Mr. Aiyangar then put the further question, “How have you withdrawnthe money, Rs. 30,000 and Rs. 4,000 ? ” The accused replied to this,
“ Through K. D. Peter ”.
The evidence given by Mr. Aiyangar regarding the alleged confessionwas recorded in the absence of the Jury. Mr. Suntheralingam cross-examined the witness at length. A good part of the cross-examinationappeared to be intended to show that no fact was discovered inconsequence of the information received from the accused. AsMr. Suntheralingam stated that it was necessary for the purposes of hisargument to cross-examine Mr. Aiyangar on those lines, I permitted himto do so. No evidence was called to contradict the ’ evidence ofMr. Aiyangar.
The question I have to decide is whether the confession is irrelevantunder section 24 of the Evidence Ordinance. No doubt that sectionhas to be read subject to section 27. I do not think, however, thatsection 27 would permit the confession to be admitted even if the Bankdiscovered some fact in consequence of the information given by theaccused. When the accused made the' alleged confession he was notin the custody of a police officer and therefore section 27 would not apply.
1 have to ascertain whether the confession should be ruled out undersection 24 of the Ordinance. There is no evidence whatever beforeme to show that any inducement, threat or promise having reference tothe charge was made to the accused so as to give him any grounds tosuppose that by making it, he would gain any advantage or avoid anyevil of a. temporal nature in reference to the charge against him. Noram 1 able even to infer from the evidence that such inducement, threator promise was made. No doubt questions put by Mr. Aiyangar areof the nature of leading questions and were based on the assumptionthat the accused had made false entries. This, however, is no groundfor holding the confession irrelevant. In this connection, I would citethe following passage from “ The Law of Evidence ” by Ameer Ali(9th edition page 303) to which my attention was drawn by Mr. Jansze : —“ Much less will a confession be rejected merely because it has beenelicited by questions put to the prisoner whoever (subject to theprovisions of the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth sections) may be theinterrogator, and the form of the question is immaterial ; it may bein a leading form or even assume the prisoner’s guilt. ”
I hold that the confession is admissible. It is for the Jury to decideas to the probative value of this confession.