WIJAYATILAKE, J.—Wickremadasa v. The Food and Price Controller
Present: Wijayatilake, J., and Batwatte, J.
W. WICKREMADASA, Defendant Appellant and THE FOODand PRICE CONTROLLER, Applicant Respondent.
S.C. 99/74—M.C. Polonnaruwa—15932
Evidence—Decoy—Probative value of the evidence of a decoy.
Held : Although a decoy is on a different footing from an accom-plice, so far as the rule of practice regarding corroboration isconcerned, his evidence should however be probed and examinedwith great care.
A.PPEAL, against conviction.
Mrs. M. Muttetuwegama with V. E. Selvarajah for the 2ndAccused—App ellant.
J. Perera, State Counsel for the State.
February 21, 1975. Wijayatilake, J.—
Mrs. Muttetuwegama, learned Counsel for the 2nd accused-appellant, submits that on the evidence led in this case theprosecution has failed to establish the charge against the accusedbeyond reasonable doubt even taking the prosecution evidenceat its best. Inter alia she has submitted that the prosecution hasfailed to produce the diary, in which the Price Control Inspectorhad noted the number of the five rupee note, which had beenhanded over to the decoy and which according to the decoyhad been given to the cashier, the 2nd accused. It is significantthat soon after the decoy had made the payment to the cashier,according to him, he had given a signal to Gurasinghe andimmediately Gurasinghe and the Price Control Inspector hadcome up to the cashier and the cashier had shown the drawerin which there was plenty of cash, but they had failed to recoverthe note in question. Furthermore, the cashier had with him abundle of rupee five notes.
The question does arise, if the Price Control Inspector had notedthe number of the particular note given to the decoy and thisparticular note had been given to the cashier by the decoy andthe cashier in turn had failed to show it to them, why the diaryin which the number of this note was recorded by the PriceControl Inspector was not produced. In our opinion this is aserious omission on the part of the prosecution.
Fernando v. The Village Council of Andiambalama Palatha
Mrs. Muttetmvegama has drawn our attention to the judgmentof Samerawickrema, J. in the case of Ariyaratne vs. Food andPrice Control Inspector, Galle 74 N.L.R. 19 in which he held :
“ Although a decoy is on a different footing from anaccomplice so far as the rule of practice regarding corrobora-tion is concerned, his evidence should however be probedand examined with great care
Adopting this principle we have sought to examine the evidenceand we are inclined to agree with the learned Counsel for the2nd accused-appellant that the failure to produce the diary, inwhich the number of the note was recorded, throws a reasonabledoubt in regard to the version for the prosecution. We wouldaccordingly give the benefit of such doubt- to the 2nd accused-appellant and quash the conviction and sentence passed againsthim and acquit him-
We find that the 1st accused has not appealed. Be that as itmay, in all the circumstances, we think this is a case where weshould act in revision with regard to him and we wouldaccordingly, acting in revision, set aside the order made by thelearned Magistrate against him and acquit him.
Ratwatte J.—I agree.
W. WICKREMADASA, Defendant Appellant and THE FOOD and PRICE CONTROLLER, Applic