May 19, 2018

'Duminda convicted by creating false incidents’ Featured

The lawyers representing former MP Duminda Silva had told Supreme Court yesterday that the verdict given by the Colombo High Court against Silva was not a legitimate verdict.

During a shooting incident on October 08, 2011 at the LG elections in Kolonnawa, four persons were killed, including MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra, while several others including MP Duminda Silva sustained injuries.

In the subsequent case pertaining to the incident, Duminda Silva and three others were found guilty and handed the death sentence.

However, Duminda Silva and the other convicted persons had filed an appeal which was taken up yesterday (18), while his lawyers had told court that the investigating officers had created false incidents in order to convict Duminda Silva.

The appeal filed seeking his acquittal and release was taken up yesterday for the 6th day before a five member Supreme Court bench including Chief Justice Priyasad Dep.

No validity in the verdict:

In his deliberations, President’s Counsel Anura Meddegoda said as there was no validity in the court verdict, there is no legal impact.

He told court that the CID had obtained the signature of the third accused on three documents forcibly, citing a statement made by the defendant in court.

The President’s Counsel pointed out that the special statement of the defendant had been accepted as a reliable statement, by the judges of the High Court.

Story of two weapons a lie!

The President’s Counsel further stated that based on the information obtained from the said suspect, the CID had produced two weapons in court, claiming that it was found based on the information given by the suspect.

The President’s Counsel stressed that the arrest of the suspect, discovery of the weapons and all other incidents were those cooked up by the CID, noting that through that they had levelled false allegations against Duminda Silva.  

However, President’s Counsel Anura Meddegoda told court that in delivering the  verdict, the Court had failed to analyse these falsely cooked up incidents properly.

Disparities and shortcomings of the false evidence:

In previous appeal hearings, President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne had stated that although the disparities and shortcomings of the false evidence cooked up to convict Duminda Silva, was pointed out in court, these were not taken into consideration in determining  the verdict.

The PC further noted that Duminda Silva had been convicted for charges that were not included in the charge sheet, which was totally illegal.

He told the Supreme Court that in the verdict it was accepted that all incidents presented to convict Duminda Silva had many disparities in evidence, and that  the evidence of the witnesses could not be fully accepted.
Under such circumstances, it was not justifiable or legitimate to have convicted Duminda Silva on any of the charges, the President’s Counsel told the five member Supreme Court panel.

Being a popular political figure:

President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne noted that the conviction had been made based on the fact that Duminda Silva was a popular political figure and not on the evidence presented and even though the verdict was read a thousand times, it was imposible to determine on what grounds he was convicted.

Hence, he noted that the verdict that convicted Duminda Silva is certainly not an acceptable verdict.

Many shortfalls in the verdict:

Meanwhile, President’s Counsel Anil Silva said there are many shortcomings in the verdict issued by the Colombo High Court.

He noted that the Judge had issued the verdict based purely on the statements of the AG’s Department attorneys, without having considered if the charges were being proved without a reasonable doubt.

He pointed out that although Duminda Silva was charged of having used firearms, no evidence was submitted in court to substantiate  these allegations.

The President’s Counsel noted that although it was Bharatha Lakshman’s party that had first opened fire that injured Duminda Silva, but this fact was not taken into consideration during the issuing of the verdict.

A good example of the partiality of this case was that despite it being proved during the court proceedings that Duminda Silva was first shot, it was noted in the verdict that this fact was irrelevant, the President’s Counsel noted.

He said it was confirmed by the JMO’s report that Duminda Silva had sustained gun shot injuries to the front of his head.

The President’s Counsel further noted that the High Court had convicted Silva based on the falsely cooked up incidents and evidence and had ignored the evidence presented from the defence evidence.

He said this case that was filed to tarnish the image of Duminda Silva, adding that he had not received a fair trial which is the right of every citizen.

Accordingly, President’s Attorney Anil Silva appealed to the Supreme Court to exonerate Duminda Silva from all charges and  release him.

The next appeal hearing is scheduled for June 4.