ABRAHAMS CJ.—The King v. W. Mudianselagey Ranhamy.
1937Present: Abrahams C.J.
THE KING v. W. MUDIANSELAGEY RANHAMY et al.
32—P.C. Kurunegala, 47,716.
Confession—Made to Police Magistrate—Duty of Magistrate—Confessionmust be voluntary—Criminal Procedure Code, s. 134.
It is the duty of a Police Magistrate to satisfy himself that a confessionmade to him in pursuance of the provisions of section 134 of the CriminalProcedure Code is actually voluntary.
HIS was an order made in a trial before the first Midland Sessionat Kandy.
C. Loos, C.C., for the Crown.
A. P. Van Reyk, for first accused.
Nicholas, for the second accused.
Third, fourth, fifth, and sixth accused undefended.
May 27, 1937. Abrahams C.J.—
I do not desire in this matter to lay down any general rules for theguidance of Magistrate in recording confessions although I think certainrules of prudence might very well be formulated for them by the authoritywho has the power to do so. In my opinion, it is not possible to lay*down any hard and fast rule as to what should satisfy a Magistratethat a confession made to him in pursuance of the provisions of section 134of the Criminal Procedure Code is actually voluntary and the wordingof that section is sufficiently wide to support me yin that view.Nevertheless, I am of opinion that the section should be interpretedmore in favour of the accused person than against him.
In this instance the Magistrate put certain questions which I can onlydescribe as perfunctory. He asked the accused whether anybody hadpromised him anything, whether anybody had threatened him andwhether the confession was made by him of his own accord.
The Commentary on section 24 of the Indian Evidence in the 8thEdition of Woodroffe and Ameer Ali’s book says this, and it will do dutyas much for the corresponding provision in the Ceylon Evidence Ordinanceas it does for the Indian section :—
“ Assuming that the prisoner has been induced to confess he will notunlikely assure the recording Magistrate that his confession is quitevoluntary, knowing that he will leave the Magistrate’s presence in thecustody of the Police and remain in their charge for many days tocome.”—Page 263.
Anglo-Persian Oil Co. v. Commissioner of Income Tax.
I certainly do not think that the Magistrate’s investigation into thestate of the accused’s mind when he made the confession was sufficientlyadequate. There are other and more subtle methods of persuadingprisoners to confess than by beating them and making promises. It isnot, unknown for a policeman to take advantage of an apparentlyrepentant mood on the part of the prisoner when he knows very wellthat the prisoner is under the impression that he will be treated as awitness and not as an accused person.
In this instance the accused had been in the custody of the Policefor a short time and during that time he had travelled well over a hundredmiles in a car. That fact was unknown to the Magistrate, just as it wasunknown to him that the accused had been arrested in Kurunegalaand not in Colombo.
Further, in view of the thorough-going nature of the statement whichhe made, it certainly seems to me that the Magistrate should have probedwith the greatest care into the motives which led the accused to makethis statement. He might have ascertained whether or not the accusedactually believed that proceedings would not be taken against him inview of the fact that he had implicated several other persons.
As I have said, I do not desire to lay down any hard and fast rule,but I think the facts sufficient in this case to give it as my opinion that theMagistrate ought not to have been satisfied in this instance that theconfession was voluntarily made and I must rule it inadmissible.
THE KING v. W. MUDIANSELAGEY RANHAMY et al