Landmark SC judgment in PTA case
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 October 2002, 17:41 GMT]
The Supreme Court Wednesday set aside the conviction by a High Court and acquitted the accused in a Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) case. The three-member bench of the SC, which heard the appeal of the accused, held that "it is contrary to law to punish a person only on his confession without any corroborative evidence against him." The SC bench comprised Justices C.V.Vigneswaran, Mark Fernando and Ameer Ismail.
The Anti-Subversive Unit of the Police arrested the accused, Nagamany Theivendran, in Colombo in 1996 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for obtaining arms training from the LTTE and aiding and abetting it.
The Attorney General indicted the accused in the High Court in 1997. The HC Judge after trial sentenced the accused to seven years rigorous imprisonment, accepting the confession purported to have been made by the accused voluntarily.
The accused appealed to the Court of Appeal (CA) stating that he could not be punished only on his confession without any corroborating evidence against him. However the Court of Appeal also confirmed the order by the High Court Judge in the case.
The accused then appealed to the Supreme Court against the HC sentence and CA confirmation of the sentence imposed on him.
The three-member bench of the Supreme Court took the appeal Wednesday for inquiry. State Counsel Mr. Shantha Kottegoda appeared for the Attorney General. Senior Counsel Dr.Ranjit Fernando with Attorney-at-Law Mr.A.Vinayagamoorthy appeared for the accused petitioner.
After inquiry the SC set aside the conviction imposed on the accused only on his confession without any corroborating evidence against him. The SC said that it acquits the accused.