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[G.R. No. 9915. October 30, 1914. ]

THE UNITED STATES, Plaintiff-Appellee, v. CHIEN SUEY, Defendant-Appellant.

C.W. O’Brien, for Appellant.

Solicitor-General Corpus, for Appellee.


1. OPIUM LAW; ILLEGAL POSSESSION; PROOF NECESSARY. — The prime requisite to obtain a conviction for the illegal possession of opium is proof beyond as reasonable doubt that the substance found in the possession of the accused is in fact opium.

2. ID.; ID.; CREDIBILITY OF WITNESSES. — Where, on a trial on a charge of illegal possession of opium, the only evidence as to whether the substance found in the possession of the accused was opium or not was the testimony of an ignorant woman, who was not shown to have any knowledge of or any experience with the drug which would qualify her to identify it, the accused must be acquitted.

3. ID.; ID.; ID.; — Where, on a trial on the charge of illegal possession of opium the only witnesses for the prosecution are enemies of the accused and their testimony is nor altogether reasonable and in part contradictory, the accused is entitled to an acquittal, where he and his witnesses tell a fair and reasonable story demonstrating his innocence.



This is an appeal from a judgment of the Court of First Instance of the Department of Mindanao and Sulu convicting the accused of a violation of section 31 of the Opium Law and sentencing him to pay a fine of P1,000, with subsidiary imprisonment in case of insolvency, and to pay the costs of the trial.

The information alleges: "On or about the 17th day of October, 1913, in the municipality of Jolo, district of Sulu, Department of Mindanao and Sulu,, P.I., the aforesaid accused Chinaman, Chien Suey, did then and there willfully, knowingly, criminally, and illegally have in possession and under his control 10 cans of opium, without being duly authorized to have the same in his possession."cralaw virtua1aw library

The opium alleged to have been found in the possession of the defendant was not produced in court and no one testified to the fact that it was opium except an ignorant Moro woman, who apparently knew nothing about opium.

It further appears in the case that the witnesses for the prosecution were enemies of the accused, and that fact, taken in connection with the further fact that their testimony is not altogether reasonable and, in part, contradictory, makes it impossible for us to concur in the finding of the learned trial court that the accused was proved guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

It not having been shown beyond reasonable question that the substance alleged to be opium was such, and the only other evidence tending to incriminate the accused being given by persons who entertained strong feelings against him and whose testimony was, to say the least, in part unreasonable, we are constrained to reverse the judgment and to acquit the accused.

The judgment of conviction is reversed and the accused acquitted, Costs de officio.

Arellano, C.J., Torres, Johnson, Carson, Trent and Araullo, JJ., concur.

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