SC awards Rs. 1 MN as compensation for torture leading to death of father of two
Posted on July 17th, 2021

Courtesy The Daily Mirror

The Supreme Court has awarded one million rupees against the five Police Officers attached to Peliyagoda Police Station as compensation for torture leading to the death of a father of two children, a seven-year-old son and a daughter of one month at the time of his death. 

Delivering the judgment, the presiding judge, Justice Preethi Padman Surasena ordered that out of the sum of one Million rupees awarded as compensation, a sum of Rs. 500,000 should be invested in the names of the two children in equal shares in a state bank.

According to the judgment, the Supreme Court awarded a sum of one million rupees as compensation, of which a sum of Rs 750,000 should be paid by the State and Rs 50,000 each by the five respondents personally. The amount of money ordered as compensation must be paid within four months from the date of the pronouncement of the judgment. 

It was revealed during the Post Mortem examination that the cause of death is due to extensive muscle and soft tissue contusions caused by blunt force trauma.

The petitioner Nilmini Vijesekara, the wife of Chadik Shyaman Wickramarachchi who is alleged to have died while in Police custody had filed a Fundamental Rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking a declaration that the respondents have violated the fundamental rights of the petitioner’s husband.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Preethi Padman Surasena, Justice Janak de Silva and Justice Mahinda Samayawardena held that the five respondents have infringed the fundamental rights of the Petitioner’s husband Chadik Shyaman Wickramarachchi guaranteed under Article 11 for freedom from torture and 12(1) of the Constitution.

The petitioner stated that around 4.00 am on February 25, 2017, five Police Constables Sumedha Thushanga, Indika Priyadharshana, Chanaka Rukman, Ajith Jayalal and Lahiru Roshan had come to their residence in Kaduwela and arrested her husband Chadik Shyaman and taken him to Peliyagoda Police Station. The Petitioner who was also present at the time of the said arrest had identified respondents as police officers who had come from Peliyagoda Police Station.

When inquired as to the reasons for taking him to the police station the respondents had stated that they wanted to record a statement from Chadik Shyaman over a robbery.

Around 9.00 am on February 25, 2017, the Petitioner had gone to her husband’s house to visit Peliyagoda Police Station. It was at that time she was informed that her husband had died and the body was lying at the Colombo General Hospital.

The petitioner said one high ranking police officer had explained to the petitioner that Chadik Shyaman was arrested in connection with a robbery of a car and jewellery in Kelaniya and Bandarawatte, that her husband had fallen sick, suffering from a wheezing attack when his statement was recorded and that he was admitted to the hospital. 

The Petitioner states that this briefing is manifestly false given the findings in the postmortem report.
The Consultant Judicial Medical Officer who conducted postmortem examination had observed twenty-eight external injuries on the body of the Petitioner’s husband.

The Consultant Judicial Medical Officer has described these injuries as signs of recent injuries and identified the injury pattern as one commonly seen in torture.

It was clear from the findings of the Post Mortem Examination, that the Petitioner’s husband’s death was not due to a wheezing attack. The Post Mortem Report is clear that the cause of death is due to extensive muscle and soft tissue contusions caused by blunt force trauma.

Attorney General who had directed to file charges against the five respondents for an offence punishable under section 296 of the Penal Code and conduct a non-summary inquiry in the relevant Magistrate’s Court. 

After the conclusion of the said non-summary inquiry, the case was again referred to the Attorney General who thereafter having considered the available material had taken steps to indict the five respondents under section 2(4) of the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman, Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act No. 22 of 1994 in the High Court of Colombo. 

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