A mockery of justice – the latest
Posted on November 11th, 2019

Janaka Perera

We again had the misfortune witnessed a mockery of justice when President Maithripala Sirisena pardoned Jude Samantha Jayamaha sentenced to death for the brutal murder of Swedish teenager Yvonne Johnson at the Royal Park luxury apartment complex in Colombo in July 2005.

Needless to say, this pardoning has sparked outrage among all law-abiding citizens. They would have not objected if the death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment.  But to allow Jayamaha to walk out of prison is intolerable, to say the least.  Is this a twisted view of human rights? Or is it because the convict is from a high-profile wealthy family?

This is the latest in four such unjustifiable Presidential pardons within a period of four decades.

During the murder trial, the court was told that the skull of the victim – who was strangled to death – was fractured into 64 pieces. Jayamaha should have been kept in prison at least till he reached old age if not a life term.

It was President Jayawardene who set a dangerous precedent by releasing convicted rapist and underworld thug Gonawala Sunil. He was even made a JP. 

Thereafter President Premadasa pardoned Manohari Daniels jailed for killing dozens of civilians by exploding a car bomb in 1987. 

In July 2009 Mary Juliet Monica Fernando sentenced to death (later commuted to life imprisonment) in 2005 for a double murder, walked away to freedom after being pardoned by President Mahinda Rajapaksa on International Women’s Day!

Juliet Fernando was the wife of former SLFP Minister Milroy Fernando.

Why this selective ‘compassion’?

Are not there other heartless murderers like Jude Samantha still in the death row?

The only convicts who may deserve pardon are those who have killed in self-defense or under sudden provocation in justifiable circumstances or caused death unintentionally (including negligence). These usually fall into the legal category of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Pardoning any convict or not should be decided not by a President but by a review board, depending on the nature of each case.  It should be a legal process.

We hope the next President will give serious thought to this.  If not criminals who deserve no leniency will walk away scot-free.

One Response to “A mockery of justice – the latest”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    ***JUST ONE MAN, SHOULD NOT BE VESTED WITH POWER TO RELEASE MURDERERS AND OTHER CONVICTS This is absolute show of Power to impress Idiots only. Nonetheless, this power is coming to an end very soon. BUDDHU SARANAI.

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