Persistent Police absence frees PTA accused
[TamilNet, Thursday, 30 May 2002, 15:43 GMT]
The Eastern High Court Thursday discharged a Tamil youth arrested in 1998 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act when the Police officer who recorded his purported confession failed to appear in court for the sixth time. Hundreds of Tamil youth languish in Sri Lankan prisons for long years because Policemen who record their confessions are often transferred out by the time their cases are eventually taken up for hearing. Tamil human rights lawyers say that this is inevitable in Sri Lanka's PTA cases where the confession of the accused is the sole production and the Policemen who record and translate it are the sole witnesses.
The court was told that the prosecution was depending solely on the confession to prove the guilt of the accused.
In this case the Attorney General had indicted Murugan Uthayakumar of Thuvarankadu, Trincomalee, for possessing arms and obtaining military training from the LTTE.
When the case was taken up for inquiry before the Eastern High Court holden at Trincomalee Thursday, the defense counsel Attorney-at-Law Kasinathar Sivapalan brought to the notice of the court that Mr. Dhanapala Nanayakara, Assistant Superintendent of Police who recorded the confession purported to have been made by the accused had failed to appear on five consecutive dates before.
He further said that the police officers who translated the confession into Sinhalese from Tamil and typed it also failed to appear in the court for the sixth time.
"Hence, I move for the discharge of the accused as the continuous absence of the police witnesses shows that the prosecution is not interested in conducting the case," moved the defense counsel Attorney Sivapalan.
The State Counsel Mr. S. Kannan did not object the defense application and stated it was a reasonable request. The High Court Judge then made order discharging the accused who is married and a father of three-year-old child.