W. Comer Petheram, C.J.
1. In this case I think that the convictions and the sentences must be affirmed. The question depends really upon the value of the evidence. The evidence which is material for the whole story was the evidence of the approver. Now the practice, no doubt, of the Courts is, where the evidence of an approver stands alone, to treat it as not of sufficient value to make it safe for the Courts to act upon it, because the man who gives the evidence comes before the Court, practically with the statement: 'I have so little same of justice that I do not object to commit a crime;' and consequently his testimony cannot be taken as of sufficient value to subject a man to punishment. That, however, does not affect the fact that his evidence is admissible. The story told must be looked to, to see whether it hangs together or not. The story told here is a categorical story, which bears the semblance of truth on the face of it. I think that Magistrates who conduct these inquiries would be wise if they would test the accuracy of such statements by cross-examination themselves. Where the prisoner is not defended, the Magistrate and the Judge himself ought, in the interests of justice, to test the accuracy of the statements made by witnesses, by questions in the nature of cross-examination, and, if that were done with care, I think myself that the result of these inquiries would be more satisfactory. At all events, the evidence of the approver does not appear to have been shaken by cross-examination, and the question is whether independent evidence has been given in this case which corroborates his evidence.
2. His Lordship then examined the other evidence in the case, and was of opinion that it sufficiently corroborated the evidence of the approver, and that the appeal should be dismissed.
3. The first point raised in this appeal is whether the Judge was right in tendering a pardon to Loka. The second point is whether the conviction of the appellants upon the evidence given by Loka is good and can be sustained or not. As regards the first point, I think that there was no irregularity in the tender of a pardon to Loka. It is urged with reference to Section 338 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Loka should not have been made an approver, because he was not only supposed' to have been concerned in the crime, but was, on his own showing, actually concerned in it, and liable to conviction upon his plea of guilty. But I think that the words in question must be taken merely as intended to exclude the case of a man who has actually been convicted of the crime, and not the case of a man like Loka, who, although admitted to be a party to the crime, is unconvicted. I hold, therefore, that the evidence of the approver was rightly taken. Under Section 133 of the Evidence Act a conviction is not illegal simply because it proceeds upon the uncorroborated testimony of an accomplice. Of course, such evidence must be received with great caution, and it has been our practice to require corroboration of such evidence.
4. The learned Judge then considered the corroboration in this case, and concurred with the Chief Justice in accepting it as sufficient.