SOERTSZ J.—The King v. N. J. Ranasinglie.
[Court of Criminal Appeal.]
1944Present– Howard C.J., and Soertsz and Hearne JJ.
THE KING v. N. J. RANASINGHE et al.
18—M. C. Gampola, 6,461.
Court of Criminal Appeal—Evidence of witness—Two views possible—-Properdirections to Jury—Refusal to interfere with verdict.
Where there has been a proper direction to the Jury regarding thevalue to be attached to the evidence of a witness and two views are-possible with regard to such evidence, it is not the usual practice of theCourt of Criminal Appeal to interfere with the verdict.
PPEAL against a conviction by a Judge and Jury before the ThirdMidland Circuit, 1943.
R.L. Pereira, K.C. (with him M. M. Kumarakvlasingham and
Wanigatunge), for both appellants who are also applicants.
H. T. Gunasekera, C.C., for the Crown.
Cur. adv. vult.
February 28, 1944. Soertsz J.—,
We took time to consider the case of the second accused becausewe desired to examine the evidence regarding his complicity in theoffence more carefully than we were able to examine it during the argu-ment when Counsel read portions of the evidence to us.
After careful consideration of all the evidence and of the charge by theJudge, the majority of us are of opinion that we shall not be .justified ininterfering with the conviction entered on the verdict returned by theJury. We were addressed strongly regarding the unsatisfactory nature ofthe evidence of the principal witness, Ranasinghe, so far as the caseagainst the second accused is concerned. But those matters were, wefind, submitted to the Jury in the course of the trial both by Counseland by the presiding Judge and were, we doubt not, considered by them.It isimpossible for us tohold that Ranasinghe’sevidence wassuch
thatthe Jury acted unreasonably in acting uponit. There isgood
circumstantial corroboration of his evidence. The two accused arebrothers living in the same house near the scene of the attack. Ac-cording to Ranasinghe, it was the second accused who held his father,the deceased, and enabled the first accused to run down the hill andstab the deceased. The report of the Government Analyst said thathuman blood was found on the second accused’s clothes, and these were" drop stains ” c”ch as would result from blood spurting, not " smearsas would occur in the case of leech or insect bites as Counsel suggestedin explanation.
In the case of Isaac Schrager1 the Lord Chief Justicedeclared “ When there has been a proper direction to the Jury it is notthe usual practice of thisCourt to interfere withthe Jury’s verdict
andto re-try the caseThe Court, however,interfered inthat
instance, because there were “ very peculiar circumstances
1 6 Cr. App. R. 253.
The King v. D. Babanis.
It was a case in which the identity of the assailant vpas involved in greatdoubt in view of the description of the clothes in which the witnessstated his assailant was clad at the time of the assault being at variancewith the clothes which the accused was found to be wearing at the time ofhis arrest shortly afterwards. A chauge of clothes in the interval wasmost unlikely. Moreover, it was a case in which the Chairman of theBench and all the Magistrates on the Bench thought that the evidencedid noi justify the conviction. In the case of John Alfred Bradley1the Court interfered because it appeared probable from the notesof the case that the Jury believed that consent was not a defenceto a chargeofrape. Thecase ofJohnReuben Parker2 was also
a singular case. The identification of the accused by the prosecu-trix was extremely doubtful and in spite of a strong warningby PickfordJ.the Juryconvicted, asthe Lord Chief Justice
observed, because “ the girl was very respectable and had been badlyoutraged and they may have been carried away by the feeling that,for the honour of their town, somebody ought to be punished for itSimilarly, in all the English eases noticed in the local case of The King v.Andiris Silva 3, the Court interfered in very exceptional circumstances.We do not see any such circumstances in this case and were we to interfereit would notbepossible for us to sayany more than that, two views
•of the valueofBanasinghe'sevidencebeingpossible in regard to the
second accused’s complicity, we prefer the view that did not commenditself to the majority of the Jury. That would be in derogation of themeaning and purpose of trial by Jury.
THE KING v. N. J. RANASINGHE et al