One accused in Bindunuwewa massacre case acquitted

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 22 June 2004, 13:37 GMT]
Specially constituted five-member bench of the Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court comprising Justices Asoka de Silva, T.B.Weerasuriya, Nihal Jayasinghe, N.E.Dissanayake and Raja Fernando Monday acquitted the fifth accused Sub-Inspector of Police Mr.Tyronne Roger Ratnayake who was sentenced to death along with Inspector of Police Mr. Senaka Jayampathi Karunasena and three civilians in the Bindunuwewa massacre case, for want of evidence, legal sources said. The inquiry into the appeals of four other accused-appellants is continuing.

Released Accused
Roger Ratnayake (Photo: Daily Mirror)
When the five member bench of the SC resumed its hearing into the appeals of the five accused, Monday, Solicitor General Mr.Chitranjan R.de Silva with Senior State Counsel Mr.Nihal Jayamanne and State Counsel Mr.Priyantha Nawana began his submission on behalf of the Attorney General, the sources said.

The accused in the case are three civilians, Mr.D.M.Sepala Dissanayake, Mr.M.A.Sammy, and Mr.R.M.Premananda, and two police officials- IP Mr. Senaka Jayampathi Karunasena and, Sub Inspector of Police Mr.Tyronne Roger Ratnayake.

Counsel Mr.Rienzie Aresakularatne who appeared for the fifth accused in the mid of inquiry submitted to court that there was no evidence to implicate his client in the crime and begged court to acquit the accused. The prosecution also told court that there was no sufficient evidence against the fifth accused. The special bench of the SC thereafter made order acquitting the fifth accused from the case, the sources said.

The five accused were convicted and sentenced to death by the specially constituted High Court Trial-at-Bar comprising HC Judges Messrs Sarath Ambepitya, Eric Basanayake, and Upali Abeyaratne on 1 July last year at the conclusion of the Bindunuwewa massacre case.

They were initially charged with several others with 83 counts including unlawful assembly, committing the murder of 27 Tamil detainees and attempted murder of 14 other detainees at the Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Centre on October 25, 2000.

The convicts in their appeals have asked the Supreme Court to set aside their convictions and order by the High Court Trial-at-Bar and to acquit them.

The petitioners have stated in their appeals that there was no evidence to prove that they had committed the offences. They contend that the judgment was contrary to the evidence and the Trial-at-Bar judges had erred in law in dealing with the charge of being a member of an unlawful assembly. They maintain that the court had not paid sufficient attention to their statements made from the dock.

When the appeals were first taken up for inquiry last week counsels for the accused-appellants began their submissions on behalf of their clients.

Dr.Ranjit Fernando appeared for the first three accused. President Counsel Mr.D.S.Wijesinghe appeared for the fourth accused. President Counsel Mr.Rienzie Aresakularatne appeared for the fifth accused.

Further inquiry into the appeals of the four accused in the Bindunuwewa massacre case was put off for July 16, legal sources said.

 

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