Vaughn et Al v Commissioner of Police

JudgeWilliams, C.J.,Chase, J.
Judgment Date19 June 1991
CourtDivisional Court (Barbados)
Docket NumberNo. 51 of 1990
Date19 June 1991

Divisional Court

Williams, C.J.; Chase, J.

No. 51 of 1990

Vaughn et al
Commissioner of Police

Mr. A. Clarke for the appellants.

Miss D. Holder for the respondent.

Criminal law - Appeal against conviction and sentence for stealing sugar cane — Appellants charged under section 36(1) of Magistrates Jurisdiction and procedure Act, Cap. 116 — Nothing in the provisions of Cap. 116 alter or modify the common law position — “Or property of any kind whatsoever” in s. 36(1) must be interpreted eiusdem generis with goods and chattels — In the circumstances larceny at common law was not committed — Charges under section 23(1) of the Larceny Act were the appropriate charges — Appeal allowed, conviction quashed, sentence set aside.


This is an appeal by Kenneth Vaughn and Marson Sealy against their convictions by the Magistrate of District “D” for stealing sugar cane contrary to section 36(1) of the Magistrates Jurisdiction and Procedure Act, Chapter 116 which enacts –

  • “36. (1) Any person who steals any goods, chattels or property of any kind whatever not exceeding $500 in value and is convicted thereof before a magistrate shall be liable to a fine of $1,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 1 year.”


The appellants were each fined $25.


The evidence disclosed that the two men were seen breaking canes that were growing in a field of ripe canes belonging to Hopewell Estates Limited. They broke off the tops, put the sugar canes into the trunk of a car that was parked nearby, and unsuccessfully attempted to drive away.


The magistrate accepted this evidence and, after posing the question whether a person who commits praedial larceny can be convicted under section 36 and answering it in the affirmative, found them guilty.


Mr. Arden Clarke for the appellants raised the same question before us submitting that section 23(1) of the Larceny Act, Chapter 139 was the appropriate provision and a breach thereof should have been charged. Section 23(1) of Chapter 139 enacts –

  • “23(1) Any person who steals or cuts, breaks, roots up or otherwise destroys or damages, with intent to steal, the whole or any part of any tree, sapling, shrub, underwood, plant, root, fruit, corn, pulse, grass or vegetable production, wheresoever growing, the value of the article or articles stolen or the injury done not exceeding $500, shall, on conviction thereof before a magistrate, be...

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