HC rejects confession, acquits PTA accused
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 06 March 2002, 22:14 GMT]
"The court has come to a conclusion that the confession purported to have been made by the accused was obtained by the Police on the promise that he could be released once he signed the confession recorded in the Sinhala language. Hence the Court holds that the confession of the accused was not a voluntary one and rejects it," said the Eastern High Court Judge Mr.J.Visvanathan Wednesday when acquitting the accused in a case indicted under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).
In this case the Attorney General indicted Subramaniam Kirushnamoorthy, sub postmaster of Sampaltheivu in Trincomalee district under the PTA for failing to inform the Police about the movements of some LTTE cadres in his area.
When the defence brought to the notice of the court that the accused had not made any confession to the Police as stated by the prosecution, the Court ordered a voire dire inquiry.
The accused said in evidence that under detention the Police brought some papers typed in Sinhala and wanted him to sign. The accused further said that the Police Officer who conducted investigations had assured him that he would be released once he signed the typed documents. Hence he signed the documents expecting the release. He did not know the contents of the document when he signed.
The accused added that he was the sub postmaster of the Sampaltheivu sub post office for about ten years. Large number of people comes to the sub post office daily to do transaction. He was unable to say whether LTTE members were also coming with them.
The prosecution told court that another police officer who translated the confession purported to have been made by the accused from Tamil into Sinhala had died.
The High Court Judge Mr.J.Visvanathan Wednesday delivered his order acquitting the accused. The Judge stated in his order, "as the police officer who translated the confession purported to have been made by the accused in Tamil into Sinhala had died. As such the Court was not in a position to take a decision regarding the competency of the said police officer in both languages, Sinhalese and Tamil. In addition the accused had stated in his evidence that he signed the document typed in Sinhala on a promise by the ASP that he would be released once he signed the said document. Furthermore the accused had said that he did not know what was typed in the said document."
Citing a judgment in the New Law Report of 1989 given by Justice Malcolm Perera in a case Vivekanandan Vs Selvaretnam, it was clearly stated that a confession given by an accused on the promise that he would be released once he signed should be considered an involuntary one and be rejected forthwith, Judge Mr.Visvanathan said that "taking into consideration the above facts the Court holds that the accused in this case had signed the confession purported to have been made by him on the promise that he would be released. Hence the Court rejects the confession was not a voluntary one and acquit the accused."
State Counsel Mr.B.Sasi Mahendra appeared for the prosecution. Attorney-at-Law Mr.M.K.Sellarajah appeared for the defence.