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Archibald George Edgecombe Vs. Emperor - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCriminal
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1928Cal264
AppellantArchibald George Edgecombe
RespondentEmperor
Cases ReferredEmpress v. Rango Simaji
Excerpt:
- .....under section 411, i.p.c., which requires that the person dishonestly receiving or retaining stolen property must know or have reason to -believe the same to be stolen property. now it was observed by mr. justice melvill in the case of empress v. rango simaji [1881] 6 bom. 402, that it was not sufficient to show that the accused was careless or that he had reason to suspect that the property was stolen or that he did not make sufficient enquiry to ascertain whether it had been honestly acquired and that the word 'believe' in section 414, i.p.c., is a very much stronger word than 'suspect' and that it involved the necessity of showing that the circumstances were such that a reasonable man must have felt convinced in his mind that the property with which he was dealing must be stolen.....
Judgment:

Panton, J.

1. The present rule has been obtained by A.G. Edgecombe who, at the time of his arrest, was the 5th engineer on S.S. Aronda. He has been convicted under Section 411, I.P.C., by the Chief Presidency Magistrate. The offence is found to have been committed in respect of packets containing 1,865 one rupee notes the subject of a theft which had occurred on S.S. Maihar. The rule was issued upon the ground that the elements necessary to constitute an offence under Section 411 not being present in the case the conviction was bad in law and should be set aside. It would appear that the theft of these, among other notes, was committed some time between 14th April and 29th may last. On 29th June last at 9 p.m. the present petitioner was arrested in Rangoon by an Excise Inspector, and the packets of notes in question were then found upon his person. He is said to have informed the Inspector at the time that these notes were forged or false notes. His explanation now is that he was conveying them from Calcutta to Rangoon at the request of a Chinese ship's carpenter with whom he was acquainted and that he was doing this as a friendly service. The findings of the learned Magistrate bearing on the points presented for consideration are:

I am satisfied that the accused was acting dishonestly and that he knew that he was engaged in some shady transaction.

2. Later on the Magistrate observes:

I think that he took the packets containing the notes, knowing that there was something shady about them, and that it was a transaction to be concealed from the authorities, but that he did not care to enquire what exactly was their nature. He knew generally that there was something wrong with them and may have supposed they might be forged.

3. Later on he observes:

I do not take his statement, that he had forged notes, to mean anything more than that he knew there was something wrong about them, but exactly what he had not troubled to ascertain.

4. Now the question is whether on findings such as these the petitioner could properly be convicted under Section 411, I.P.C., which requires that the person dishonestly receiving or retaining stolen property must know or have reason to -believe the same to be stolen property. Now it was observed by Mr. Justice Melvill in the case of Empress v. Rango Simaji [1881] 6 Bom. 402, that it was not sufficient to show that the accused was careless or that he had reason to suspect that the property was stolen or that he did not make sufficient enquiry to ascertain whether it had been honestly acquired and that the word 'believe' in Section 414, I.P.C., is a very much stronger word than 'suspect' and that it involved the necessity of showing that the circumstances were such that a reasonable man must have felt convinced in his mind that the property with which he was dealing must be stolen property. Applying this test to the present case it appears to me that the findings of fact of the learned Magistrate were not sufficient to justify the conviction of the present petitioner under Section 411.

5. In my opinion, this Rule must be made absolute and the conviction and sentence of the petitioner are set aside. The petitioner will be discharged from his bail bond.

Greaaves, J.

6. I agree.


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