Wrong verdict rectified – Parrt IV
Posted on July 10th, 2021

By : A.A.M.NIZAM – ,MATARA

UNP demands an explanation from the President.

The United National Party (UNP) which made the judicial system Court system a mockery during its 4 ½ years rule from January 8th 2015 and caused the people to lose all trust and confidence in the verdicts of court cases and inhibited the people going for litigations called on the President to explain the decision to pardon the former MP Duminda Silva, who had been convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 2016 along with two others over the murder of former Parliamentarian Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in 2011.

Issuing a press release, the pratfallen UNP having only 2% of popularity in the country urged the President not to overrule the Judiciary through the unbridled use of the Presidential pardon”, pointing out that the former MP was convicted for great public interest the press release itself implying that it was a manipulated conviction. It said that The President must explain his decision to include the former Parliamentarian in his list of Presidential pardons issued and stressed that the public has a right to know why the President chose to issue this particular pardon.

It asked What were the criteria used in determining those who were eligible for the Presidential pardon?”

Hilariously, and thinking that the people of this country have forgotten all their misdeeds, perhaps using the slain Prabhakaran’s criteria that Sinhalese have short memories and they will forget anything in one week, the press release stated that the UNP remains committed to the continued independence of the Judiciary in the country.

Presidential pardon for Duminda Silva grave threat to democratic rule, judicial independence: SJB 

While the imbecile, visionless and nincompoop leader of the shameless jabbering Bandits (SJB) Sajith Premadasa remained tongue-tight about the pardoning of Duminda Silva, the group’s General Secretary Ranjith Madduna Bandara has called on the President to stop abusing powers vested in him and withdraw the order. He has said that the Presidential pardon had challenged the independence of the rule of law and democratic governance.

MP Ranjith Maddumabandara issuing a statement has questioned whether due process was followed when granting a special Presidential pardon to Silva who was on death row. 

The SJB condemned the abuse of power with disgust,” the statement said. 

It seems that the President is in the view that he is the Government. His conduct makes it clear that he is in the view that Parliament and Judiciary should function according to his whims and fancies. This is a grave threat to democratic rule in a country,” the statement has stated.

 Madduma Bandara has called on the President not to further abuse the powers vested in him, whilst cautioning that the controversial decision will set only dangerous precedence that will damage the country. We therefore insist that the President should withdraw this order and protect rule of law and its independence as well as the respect of judges of the courts,” the SJB has urged.

This staunch partner of the Born Again” who was a prominent member of J.R. and Premadasa governments seems to be suffering from acute amnesia and has forgotten J.R.Jayawardene’s pardoning of the rapist Gonawala Sunil Sunil and the subsequent reward given to him as an all island JP, and Premadasa’s pardoning  of Manohari Daniels, who was convicted of aiding and abetting the LTTE to carry out a bomb attack opposite Zahira College, Maradana in 1987 that killed forty innocent persons. Daniels was pardoned at a time when the Premadasa government was having ‘peace talks’ with the LTTE, as a gesture of goodwill in what was a bid to ensure the talks succeeded


Such a reversal of a punishment order determined by a High Court Trial-at-Bar also confirmed by a five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court including the Chief Justice, in such a manner by applying the power of the Executive poses a question about the good governance in the country,” the statement of this nirvanic pipe dreamer said. 


This nirvanic pipe dreamer alleged that there was an organized approach to spring the political confidant from death row.


Meanwhile, the notorious former Justice Minister Tal.ata Atukorale of the destructive Sirisena/Ranil government who’ was a gobbledegook and who messed up matters in that government and held clandestine meetings with Rajitha and Champika to plan on joint opposition members to be taken into custody by Ranil’s Gestapo, FCID, has said that it was clear that collecting signatures of the Members of Parliament requesting a pardon for Duminda Silva was an act of clearing ground for this blatant decision.”

She may have been on a stupor when 115 MPs including several SJB MPs signed this appeal.


She has said it was up to those remaining professional Police officers and civil servants to remember that Sri Lanka was not a monarchy, to ignore coercion by the Executive and to place the lives of these upstanding judges and Police officers before whatever threats or inducements may be offered to them for looking the other way.

A report published by Ceylon Today on 19th January  2020 said the Duminda was convicted on circumstantial evidence and the driver’s affidavit reveals all.

The report said that the exposure of the Ranjan Ramanayake voice recordings has thrown a cloud over the judiciary and people have started to question the veracity of their judgments. The confidence instilled in the judiciary by the trusting public was shattered and caused massive damage to the respect and confidence directed to such bodies that have been appointed to implement and maintain law and order in the country.


The Duminda Silva case was one that drew the highest attention in the past five years. Duminda Silva was condemned to death for the murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.


Shani Abesekara dialogue

Featured on the Ramanayake tapes was a telephone call between one of the three Judges on the panel that delivered the verdict over Duminda, which aroused the suspicion and cemented arguments that everything about the verdict was not above board.


The recordings of the Director of the CID, Senior Superintendent of Police Shani Abesekara who led the investigations over the case gave a clear indication that there was something fishy on how the investigations had been conducted.


The Colombo Crime Division (CCD) raided the official residence of MP Ranjan Ramanayake and took the devices that had been instrumental in saving the recordings of about 121,000 secret telephone conversations between Ranjan Ramanayake and many others. The recordings have been directed to the Government Analyst to verify the voices of the callers.


The contentious telephone conversation between the Judge, with Ramanayake borders on a promotion for the Judge. This happens to be the Judge who was on the panel that delivered the verdict and passed the death sentence on Duminda.


Judge Shiran Gunarathna acquitted all 13 accused

What is curious about the Duminda case is that the most senior and experienced Judge of the three-member bench, High Court Judge Shiran Gunarathna had written in detail a separate judgment and acquitted all 13 accused from all 17 charges of the indictment on the basis that no charge had been proven beyond suspicion by the prosecution. However, High Court Judge Padmini N. Ranawaka Gunathilaka delivered a separate judgment and found all accused guilty of the crime and sentenced them to death.


Padmini Ranawaka

Now what is amusing is that Padmini Ranawaka has also been caught on tape lasciviously conversing with Ramanayake during which she doesn’t hesitate to say that she had completed several cases including the case of Duminda Silva and seeks the MP’s support to get a promotion as a Judge of the Appellate Court. In another telephone call Padmini refers to how Ramanayake influenced the Judge.


Abesekara assures Ramanayake in the taped conversation between them prior to the passing of the final judgment in the Duminda case that Duminda Silva would be found guilty and sentenced.


Excerpts:
Abesekara: Sir, I will worship you, please don’t open your mouth regarding the verdict of the case. Otherwise, it will be a big problem. Now the case is at a very good stage.

Ramanayake: Really?

Abesekara: Your call to the Madam can backfire. Anyway, we shall balance it. Please don’t tell what you know, Sir.

Ramanayake: Alright! Is the case alright now.

Abesekara: Yes. But please don’t call Ranawaka Madam again. It will be a big problem for all of us.

Ramanayake: Is there anyone else with you?

Abesekara: No.

Ramanayake: I called and told, ‘Madam, I am not influencing. The entire country is looking at the judgment related to Duminda Silva on 9th’.

Then she asked, ‘Yes Ranjan, what is it?’ I then told, ‘Madam, the entire country knows about this daylight murder. You are one of the greatest Judges whom I know.’

She then hung up saying, ‘People are coming and I will call you later.’

Abesekara: Alright, but if you call again those two will also agree to the verdict of the other one. Sir, I will wash your pots and pans at home for six months. 

Please don’t reveal a single word about this. All of us will be hanged if you do so.


The case was examined during the period of 12 October, 2011 to 14 July, 2016 and the judgment was scheduled to be delivered on  8 September, 2016.


Padmini Ranawaka verdict

On the morning of that day, justice Padmini Ranawaka read the most important part of her verdict and stated that the 1st accused Anura Thushara de Mel, 3rd accused Chaminda Ravi Jayanath, 7th accused Sarath, 10th accused Janaka Bandara Galagoda and 11th accused Duminda Silva has been proved guilty. She sentenced all five of them to be executed by hanging until death on a date decided by the President.


Meanwhile, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Shiran Gunarathna ruled all 13 accused would be acquitted from all 17 indictments against them by the Attorney General. He acquitted all of them. However, Justice M.C.B. Morayes endorsed Justice Ranawaka’s verdict and thus her verdict was enforced.


The counsels who appeared on behalf of Duminda Silva stated in Court that they would not admit the verdict on the grounds that it was based on the evidence produced in the Court and said they would appeal against the verdict in a Higher Court.


A five-member panel of Supreme Court Judges including Chief Justice Priyasad Dep, Buwaneka Aluvihare, Priyantha Jayawardana, Nalin Perera and Vijith K. Malalgoda considered the appeal.


The preliminary objection and the demand by Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige to reject the appeal without being considered was dismissed. After four days of preliminary proceedings, the appeal was heard for 14 days from morning to evening.


Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige admission


President’s Counsels Anil Silva, Anuja Premarathna and Anura Meddegoda appearing for the accused inquired about the stand of the Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige of the Attorney General’s Department and the latter admitted the following facts.


1. On 8 October 2011, while the local government election was underway, the vehicles belonged to Duminda Silva and Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, both of them engaged in election activities met at Himutana by chance. Both of them climbed down the vehicles and engaged in a heated argument. Duminda Silva kept his hand on Bharatha Lakshman’s neck and pushed him. Then, as he was returning to his vehicle, Bharatha’s bodyguard Gamini shot at Duminda’s head two times.


2. Duminda Silva fell down unconscious and his bodyguards took him to the vehicle and drove to the hospital.


3. After he was taken away, an exchange of firing took place. No other shooting sans the shot fired on him occurred by the time he was there.


4. Out of the 126 witnesses produced from the defence and the prosecution, no evidence sans Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s daughter Hirunika’s and others loyal to Premachandra’s family said that Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was shot before Duminda Silva was shot.

5. No shooting could take place other than the heated argument unless Bharatha Lakshman’s bodyguard Gamini fired his gun.

6. Thus, an ordinary incident that could end as a heated argument ultimately developed into an attempt of murder by Premachandra’s party by shooting at Duminda Silva’s head and ended as a serious crime of multi murders.

7. Bharatha Lakshman’s party first shot for the first time.

8. Duminda Silva was the first victim of the firing.

9. Duminda Silva was unconscious and taken away from the scene like a dead body.

10. Duminda Silva did not hold a firearm.

11. Duminda Silva did not commit the act of firing a firearm.

12. Duminda Silva was unconscious after sustaining injuries in his head due to the shooting that took place targeting the rear of his head no sooner he turned his back after the argument with Bharatha Lakshman and he was not responsible for any of the incidents that took place after that because he was unconscious.

13. None of the witnesses of the prosecution among the 126 witnesses said that Duminda Silva had attempted to murder Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, or tried to harm or threatened him.

14. The only witness, who said that Bharatha was shot before Duminda Silva was shot, was the 27th witness Sanjiva Prasad who lives for a long time in the same house as Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and is a very close friend of his and the family. He has received a lot of assistance from Premachandra’s family.

15. Sanjiva Prasad was a close associate of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and accompanied him everywhere. He however, did not make a statement in the magisterial inquiry or the Police investigation until six days after the incident had happened.

16. Six days after the incident a Police officer came to Hirunika Premachandra’s house, after she had made a request and recorded the statement from Sanjiva Prasad.


Defence points 62 omissions


The Defence Counsels pointed out 62 omissions and contradictions in the verdict of Justice Padmini Ranawaka before the five-member bench of the Supreme Court.


The defence questioned on what grounds the Judge had accepted the 27th witnesses’ evidence as reliable in the context that he had made three contradictory statements on three separate occasions.


The President’s Counsels Anuja Premarathna and Anura Meddegoda further questioned the way the Judge had accepted the evidence of the 12th witness as reliable without granting the benefit of the doubt to the defence in the context that the witness himself had stated that he was influenced by the Director of CID Shani Abesekara to become a witness of the prosecution. The witness further said that the facts mentioned by Police about arresting him were totally false.


President’s Counsel Anuja Premarathna stated in Supreme Court that he had read the verdict 100 times to understand the basis of verbal or written evidence, circumstantial evidence or scientific evidence on which the Judge based her judgment and he would like to emphasise that he was unable to find any such basis.


We include a translation of the affidavit produced by Liyanage Saman Shantha Perera, the driver of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, an eyewitness who can be believed as the most reliable evidence produced before the Court.


Quote from the driver’s affidavit


I, Liyanage Saman Shantha Perera of No. 444, Himbutana Lane, Himbutana, Mulleriyawa state truly, honestly and respectfully as a Buddhist that,


I am the deponent of this statement.


I joined as the driver of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in 1999. From 1999 to 2004, I worked attached to the Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. After that, I was attached to the Road Development Authority. After that, I was attached to the Prime Minister’s Office first and then to the President’s Office. I worked as Premachandra’s driver until 08-10-2011.


During this time, I was very close to Premachandra and his family.


On 08-10-2011, I reported to work as usual and drove the vehicle numbered as KL 4219. We arrived in Angoda area for the lunch and a Land Cruiser vehicle and a car followed us in our fleet. Premachandra’s friend Mohammed Naushad travelled in that car.


While driving, I received a call on my mobile phone and I gave it to Premachandra to answer. The caller was the Chairman of the Kotikawatta-Mulleriyawa Pradeshiya Sabha Prasanna Gunasinghe Solangaarachchi. After taking the call, Bharatha Lakshman got very angry. He said he would like to kill Duminda Silva and asked me to drive to Himbutana junction.


Near the library next to Himbutana Lane, a fleet of vehicles arrived in from opposite the Angoda side. Premachandra asked me to stop the vehicle and got down from the vehicle taking the revolver hidden under the carpet of the vehicle. Duminda Silva also got down from his vehicle and a large number of people who were in the vehicles in the fleet also got down.


The two officials of the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) who were with Premachandra also got down with their firearms, there were people there whose names I was not aware of.


I also got down from the vehicle and stayed near it. As Premachandra walked ahead, I heard him and Duminda Silva exchanging filthy words and quarrelling. 

Damitha Jayathilaka grabbed the MSD officer Sergeant Gamini’s revolver and fired at Duminda. I saw Duminda being shot and falling. Then, Premachandra ran towards the vehicle he came travelling in. I heard more rounds of firing and lowered myself covering myself with the door of the vehicle. After Duminda was shot, I did not see who fired and who was shot. I saw Duminda Silva fall first.


MSD officer Priyantha took Premachandra to our vehicle. I saw Premachandra was bleeding on one side of his head. I saw that MSD officer Gamini and Damitha who came in our vehicle and the driver of the rear vehicle Hashim had been shot.


Along with the others, we admitted Premachandra to the IDH hospital. 

Premachandra was immediately transferred to the National Hospital and I heard that he had succumbed to injuries.


Initially I said that Duminda fired first and asked others also to fire. But I state now that the incident took place in a different way. I made such a statement because of the continuous pressure put on me to say that I saw Duminda Silva had fired first and I was also very closely connected to them.


They recorded various statements from me and asked me to sign them. Some were video recorded. I now understand that they were trying to cover the truth and manipulate them for inapt benefits.


Therefore, I make this statement to tell the truth with honest purposes. I further state that I make this statement without any influence, threat or promise for benefits.


I have instructed that this statement be given to a counsel appearing for Duminda Silva incase any party commits any harm to my life.


This affidavit was written by Liyanage Samanhantha Perera on 5 September, 2012.


Another Ramanayake secret voice recording of a telephone discussion reported in the Media divulges that two powerful Ministers threatened Chief Justice Priyasad Dep to deliver a unanimous verdict of the five-member panel of Judges of the Supreme Court. The report further said that a strongman of the past regime had assigned three Ministers for this task. However, one Minister backed out and the other two proceeded accordingly.


The Ramanayake tapes have exposed 14 more Judges in addition to Padmini Ranawaka. In this backdrop, the death penalty imposed on Duminda Silva has now been subjected not only to suspicion but also to questioning whether it is a low-standard judiciary process or an actual political manipulation.

To be continued……………………..

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

 

 


Copyright © 2022 LankaWeb.com. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Wordpress