Turner, Officiating C.J.
1. It is to be regretted that, in a case of this magnitude, no evidence was obtained by inquiry to support the charge against the accused. Had none of them confessed, not one of them could have been convicted. But where the Police inquiry (if indeed there was one) so completely fails, it was competent to the Deputy Commissioner to have tendered a pardon to such of the accused as he considered where the least guilty, and then to have obtained some evidence better than the mere statements of accused persons to bring to justice those whom he regarded as the most influential among the accused. Although the law allows a Court to consider statements made by accused persons when dealing with the case against other accused persons who are tried with them, I know of no instance in which on such evidence only a conviction has been affirmed, and I should hesitate to establish a precedent. It appears to me that if, as has been established by experience, the evidence of an approver examined on oath and liable to cross-examination ordinarily should not be accepted without corroboration on a material point, a fortiori such corroboration should be required to support the statement of a person naturally desirous of earning the favour of the Court in the hope of a lenient sentence, who makes a statement which does not expose him to the penalties of perjury, and who cannot be cross-examined by the other accused in turn. There existing against the appellants no other evidence than such statements, I do not. consider them by themselves sufficient to place the guilt of the appellants beyond reasonable doubt, and I therefore acquit them.