AN APPEAL TO THE KING.
SEQUEL TO MURDER TRIAL. A ■ EEsi.uiKAiiLK appeal to the King from a sentence of death, subsequently commuted to twenty 'years' imprisonment", coming from Ceylon, was recently considered by a judicial committee in London. The judge* taking part were the Lord Chancellor, and Lords Ashbourne, Macnaghien, Robertson, Atkinson, and Collins. ' The petitioners were two Cingalese ladies—sisters— Loku Nona and Punch? Nona, and their servant,'Waitan, a boy, aged fourten, whose uileged offence was the murder of a' maid, named Carlina, at Taiahenu. Ceylon, in July last. , The trial of the accused took place at Colombo in November last and lasted eleven days. A jury of seven—by a majority of six to one—convicted all three defendants. Mr. Justice Ronton, at the request of the prisoners' counsel, stated a case for the con-' sideration of the Supreme Court, who upheld the conviction and sentences. 'His Majesty was now asked to gram special leave of appeal on the grounds that the injuries alleged to have been inflicted by the accused were not proved to have caused the death: that the judge, in his charge to the jury, erred in law and made statements not warranted by the evidence, and that there was no legal evidence to warrant the conviction. , The story for the prosecution was that on the night of July 31, at about ten, Loku Nona, with a club handed to her by i'eregrino (a manservant), struck Carliiia, a girl of about eighteen, on *he "head :. that 'Carlina fell, crying " Annua" (mother), that Pundit Nona put her hand over Carlina's mouth to stop further cries; and that Loku Nona then told Jane—a servant girl about" fourteen— bring a knife. Jane then brought a knife from the kitchen, and gave it to Loku Nona, who handed it to Pnnchi Nona, saying, "Cut her throat;" that while Waitau held his hand over Carlina's mouth ■ I'linchi Nona inflicted a cut with the knife upon Carlina's throat; that Carlina then lay still, apparently dead, and that shortly •afterwards Carlina's body was carried away towards the shore, to be thrown into the sea. According to the medical evidence the cut on the throat was not fatal, and the cause of death was concussion of the brain, •produced by some blunt instrument like a club. Four distinct- contusions were found by the doctor who made the post-mortem examination. Sir R. Finlay. in laying the petition before the court, said the only witness who deposed to having seen the alleged murder was the servant girl Jane —a child of fourteen—whose evidence was open to suspicion, because, if true, she was an accomplice ; her testimony was not corroborated, and it was contradictory and rebutted by
other evidence. Tile girl had given two contradictory versions of what she represented to have happened, and in neither was she confirmed by. a single witness. What was the alleged motive for this brutal murder—if murder it was? The accused, Punchi Nona, aged 23, -was said to have been seen by Jane and Carlina behaving improperly. Because Carlina had tall: ed freriy about the matter, the suggestion was that Punchi Nona and her sister determined to murder her.' All these statements were falsified by medical testimony. . The Lcrd Chancellor, at the close of the argument, announced that the committee would advise His [Majesty to give special leave to appeal,. and the'v lordships would be prepared to hear the appeal as soon as it was ready.
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