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Present: Lyall Grant J.THE KING v. SIYARIS.
6—P. C. Galle, 30,764.
[Second Southern Criminal Circuit 1927.]
Evidence—Housebreaking—Evidence of possession of other stolen articles
—Intent—Rebut defence—Evidence Ordinance, ss. 14 and 15.
On an indictment charging the accused with murder and house-breaking, the prosecution tendered evidence to prove that, at thetime the accused entered the house broken into, he was in possesionof other articles stolen from another house the same night.
Held, that the evidence was admissible to prove the intentionwith which the accused entered the house and to rebut the defencethat he had come at the invitation of the wife of the owner.
HE accused was charged before the Supreme Court CriminalSessions, Galle, with murder and with committing house-
breaking by entering the house of one Carolis in order to committheft. The defence was that his presence in the house was not dueto any intention to commit theft but to the invitation of the wife ofCarolis. The prosecution led evidence to show that at the time theaccused entered the house he was in possession of certain articleswhich had been stolen the same night from a house about a mileaway. On an objection raised, the learned Judge held that theevidence was admissible.
E. M. Karunaralne, for accused.
J. E. M. Abeyesekere, C.C., for Crown.
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October 27, 1927. Lyall Grautt J.—'
I am asked to rule on the admissibility of certain evidence,The accused is charged with having on June 5,1927, at Kaduruppe,in the District of GaJle, committed housebreaking, by enteringinto the house of one Dinetti Carolis, in order to commit theft. Ithas been proved and is admitted by the accused that he was presentat the house on that night. But he has raised as a defence thathis presence there was not due to any intention to enter into thehouse to commit theft, but that he was there on the invitation ofBaisohamy, the wife of the owner of the house. Baisohamy hasbeen cross-examined at some length, with the object of showingthat she is a woman of bad character, and the accused, in theprevious trial in this Court, went into the box and gave evidence atconsiderable length to show that he was, and. had been for sometime, on intimate relations with the woman Baisohamy. I under-stand from counsel for the defence that he adheres to his defence,and the questions which have already been put in cross-examinationto the prosecution witnesses tend to show that this defence is beingmaintained.
In these circumstances, the prosecution tenders certain evidence,which is to the effect that at the time that the accused enteredthis house he was in possession of certain articles which on thesame night had been stolen from a house about a mile from thespot. I understand that this evidence is preferred for the purposeof discrediting the defence put forward by .the accused and support-ing the story of the witness Baisohamy. I think in these circum-stances that the evidence can be admitted. The accused has putin issue the state of mind which he had at the time that he came tothe house where the offence charged was alleged to have taken place,and the question whether he came as a thief or as this woman’sparamour. That is a question of intention, and the evidencewhich is proposed to be led is relevant as throwing some light uponthe intention with which he came to the house. I am also ofopinion that even if this evidence is not admissible under section 14of the Code, it is admissible under section 15. Section 15 providesthat where there is a question whether an act was done with aparticular knowledge or intention, the fact that such act formedpart of a series of similar occurrences, in each of which the persondoing the act was concerned, is relevant. The only difficulty underthat section is whether one other act in addition to the act com-plained of can be said to make the act complained of part of a series.Whether or not such an act forms part of a series appears todepend entirely on the class of acts which are in question, andwhere the question is one of housebreaking in a particular neigh-bourhood on a particular night, I think that one other act is
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sufficient to constitute a series of similar occurrences. Undersectidn 14 the first illustration given is that of a person receivingstolen goods, knowing them to be stolen, and it has been held to berelevant in such circumstances to prove that the accused was in' possession of other stolen articles. The question whether, whena person intended to commit a burglary, he was found in possessionof articles which had been stolen on the same night appears to meto he relevant as tending to show the intention with which heentered a particular house on that night. It has, I think, alwaysbeen held to be relevant in cases of burlgary to prove that theaccused was in possession of burglar’s implements, and, if thedefence were set up in such a case that the implements were intendedfor use in another place, that is matter which would be left to thejury. The second illustration is also somewhat similar, that is, thecharge of fraudulently delivering a counterfeit coin, which theaccused knew to be counterfeit, where it is held to be relevant toshow that the accused was possessed of a number of other counter-feit coins.
1 think that the necessary “ nexus ” between the previous actalleged to have been done by the accused and the act with whichhe is now charged is sufficiently close to allow the evidence tenderedto be admitted.
THE KING v. SIYARIS