All four accused acquitted
THE Bench of five Supreme Court Judges delivering the judgement in
the Bindunuwewa Mass Murder Case Appeal yesterday acquitted the all four
accused convicted and sentenced to death by the Trail-at-Bar in
connection with the mass murder of 27 inmates at the Bindunuwewa
Rehabilitation Camp, Bandarawela on October 25, 2000.
The specially constituted Bench of five Supreme Court Judges
comprised Justices T.B. Weerasuriya, Nihal Jayasinghe, N.K. Udalagama,
N.E. Dissanayake and Raja Fernando.
The court earlier during the inquiry acquitted fifth
accused-appellant T.R.R. Ratnayaka when Solicitor General C.R. De Silva
PC informed court that he would not support the conviction on the basis
of lack of evidence.
Delivering the judgement agreed by the rest of the Bench, Justice
Weerasuriya observed that after a careful examination of all material,
he was of the view that there was not any merit on the contention that
the fourth accused-appellant Bandarawela Crime OIC S.D. Karunasena along
with the villagers was a member of the unlawful assembly with the common
object of causing hurt to the detainees.
He noted that the Trial-at-Bar had misdirected itself with regard to
the allegations that the four accused-appellant had engaged in overt and
illegal acts i.e. the Police under his direction shot at the detainees
and removed their bodies to destroy evidence.
Justice Weerasuriya observed that the allegation of police shooting
was not borne out by medical evidence and held that the Trail-at-Bar had
failed to evaluate the evidence with regard to the alleged shooting and
had accepted the evidence of the detainees at its face value.
He held that the Trial-at-Bar had totally misdirected itself by
holding that the Police had removed the detainees bodies from the scene
to destroy the evidence since the evidence of ASP Dayaratne revealed
that it was so done as instructed by the DIG to preserve peace in the
area as there was a large concentration of Tamil estate workers in the
surrounding area. The court also acquitted the three villagers, M.A.
Samy, D.M.S. Dissanayake and R.M. Premananda.
The first accused-appellant was acquitted on the basis that the
finding of the Trial-at-Bar that the first accused-appellant had been
present at the commencement of the attack was erroneous since there were
no evidence to that effect.
The court acquitted the second accused-appellant on the basis that it
was not safe to sustain the verdict on the false evidence in respect of
the second accused-appellant, admittedly given by Wickremasinghe, a
technical officer attached to Bindunuwewa Training College.
According to the judgement, the third accused-appellant was acquitted
as the prosecution had failed to establish a prima facie case against
Solicitor General Chitranjan R. De Silva PC with Senior State Counsel
Nihal Jayamanna and Senior State Counsel Priyantha Nawana appeared for
the Attorney General. Dr. Ranjit Fernando appeared for the 1-3
accused-appellants. D.S. Wijesinghe PC with Priyantha Jayawardane,
Chandrika de Silva and K. Molligoda appeared for the four