All accused in Bindunuwewa massacre case discharged

[TamilNet, Friday, 27 May 2005, 10:25 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Supreme Court (SC) Friday acquitted all the remaining four accused who had been sentenced to death in the Bindunuwewa rehabilitation massacre case, stating that there was no direct evidence to implicate them with the crime. Five- member bench of the SC comprised Justices T.B.Weerasuriya, Nihal Jayasinghe, N.K.Udalagama, N.E.Dissanayake and Raja Fernando delivered the order acquitting the accused-appellants, Sepala Dissanayake, M.A.Sammy, R.M.Premananda and Senaka Jayampathy Karunaratne, former officer-in-charge of the Bindunuwewa Police, legal sources said.

The accused-appellants, Sepala Dissanayake, M.A.Sammy and R.M.Premananda, all are civilians, Senaka Jayampthay Karunaratne, former officer-in-charge of the Bindunuwewa Police and Tyronne Roger Ratnayake with several others had been indicted before the Trial-at-Bar (TAB) of the High Court on 83 charges including murder of 27 Tamil detainees of the Bindunuwewa Rehabilitation Camp, and the attempted murder fourteen other detainees on 25th October, 2000, legal sources said.

The Trial-at-Bar comprised High Court Judges, Sarath Ambepitya, Eric Basanayake and Upali Abeyaratne, legal sources said. TAB at the conclusion of the inquiry found only five accused guilty for the offences and discharged other accused. All the five accused were sentenced to death. They appealed against the TAB order to the Supreme Court.

The five-member bench, which heard the appeals of the five accused in June last year, acquitted the fifth accused Tyronne Roger Ratnayake for want of evidence and continued to hear the appeals of the other four accused, legal sources said.

The inquiry into the appeals of the other four accused came to a conclusion in December last year. The accused petitioners in their appeals begged court to set aside their conviction by the High Court Trial-at-Bar and to acquit them, as there was no evidence to prove that they had committed the offences, which they were charged. They also said the judgement of the TAB was contrary to the evidence and it had erred in law in dealing with the charge of being members of an unlawful assembly. The appellants maintained that the TAB had not paid sufficient attention to the dock statements by them, legal sources said.

President Counsels Mr. Ranjit Fernando, Mr.D.S.Wijesinghe and Mr.Rienzie Arasekularetna appeared for accused appellants. Solicitor General Mr.Chitraranjan de Silva appeared for the Attorney General, legal sources said.

 

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