Held 1 the confession to the police officer was

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Held : (1) The confession to the police officer was inadmissible under sec- tion 23 of the Indian Evidence Act. The Court stated, obiter: that the confession would also be inadmissible under the new Evidence Act and that it is the duty of
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the police as well as the magistrate to see that such confessions are not prof- fered.(2) A magistrate normally should call a witness only if he has been refused. Only if the testimony of the witness is vital to the case should the court exercise its undoubted power to call him.(3) Although there were irregularities at the trial a conviction would inevitably have followed on the basis of the admissible evidence alone. For that reason, the conviction was upheld. 253. R. v. Joseph s/o Michael, Crim. Rev. 23-M-67; 28/6/67; Cross, J. Accused was convicted of assault causing actual bodily harm. (P. C. s.241) Under cross- examination. Accused mentioned that he had been charged with or convicted of similar offences on two previous occasions. His apparent intention was to discredit (1967) H.C.D. - 72 – One of the prosecution witnesses, pointing out that the same person had testified against him on the two previous occasions. Held: ( 1) As the statement was “gratuitous” introduction of the damaging evidence by the accused himself, and as it impugned the character of the prose- cution witness, the magistrate “had a discretion as to whether he ought to permit cross-examination as to the previous conviction …..” (2) However, he probably did not exercise his discretion, since he apparently though that the prosecution could put the question as a matter of right. “Moreover, no warning had been giv- en to the accused, who was unrepresented …..” (3) Although the cross- examination was inadmissible, its admission occasioned no failure of justice; the conviction and sentence were confirmed. (Crim. Proc. Code s. 346.) Citing R. v. Rook (1959) 43 Cr. App. R. 138. 254. Uburiel Titila Msuya v. R ., Crim. App. 75-A-67; 5/7/67; Georges, C. J. One Husseing set fire to his shamba without permission. The fire spread and caused damage to neighboring shambas. Accused, a Field Assistant, Agriculture,
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later went to Hussein’s house and, after some discussion, asked him whether he admitted the offence. Hussein did so, and accused immediately imposed a fine of Shs. 45/-. On these facts he was convicted of false assumption of judicial authori- ty. (P.C. s. 99(1), as amended by section 4 of Part 11 of the Sixth Schedule to the Magistrates’ Courts Act, 1963.) A sentence of twelve month’s imprisonment was imposed. Held : (1) There was, in effect, the taking of a plea and a fine was imposed. While the dividing line between false assumption of judicial authority and corrupt- ly accepting money to stifle a prosecution is difficult to determine, the facts in this case support the charge. (2) The sentence was unreasonably severe. A sen- tence of six months’ imprisonment was substituted.
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