Five sentenced to death over Bharatha Lakshman murder

Five sentenced to death over Bharatha Lakshman murder

September 8, 2016   12:13 pm

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Former UPFA parliamentarian Duminda Silva and four other suspects have been sentenced to death over the murder of former MP and presidential advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.

Delivering the verdict in one of Sri Lanka’s most high profile cases, the Colombo High Court today sentenced 5 out of the 13 defendants charged over the shooting and killing of four persons including Premachandra in Mulleriyawa on October 8, 2011. 

Former MP R. Duminda Silva, Anura Thushara de Mel, Chaminda Ravi Jayanath alias ‘Dematagoda Chaminda’, Sarath Bandara and Priyantha Janaka Bandara, who is absconding, were sentenced by the trial –at-bar in a divided judgment.

The case was heard before the trial –at-bar comprising high court judges Shiran Gunaratne, Pathmini Ranawaka and C.B.S. Moreis. 

The verdict of two out of the three judges was that the aforementioned suspects were guilty and that they should be given the death penalty. However, the decision of the chairman of the trial-at-bar was that all suspects should be acquitted as the evidence gathered was contradictory. 

The court was notified that one of the sentenced suspects, Priyantha Janaka Bandara, is still missing and believed to be absconding. 

Four persons including Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra died following an exchange of gunfire at Walpola, Mulleriyawa on the day of the local government election on October 8, 2011.

Duminda Silva was injured and hospitalized following the incident and spent a long period receiving treatment for serious injuries at a private hospital in Singapore. 

Police had  recovered 12 pistols, two revolvers and two T-56 assault rifles at the crime scene. 

The Attorney General had called 42 witnesses and presented in Courts 126 documents including the Government Analyst’s reports and JMO reports.

The family members of the slain politician and trade union leader including his daughter UNP MP Hirunika Premachandra as well as the family members and supporters of Duminda Silva were present at the court premises today anticipating the long-awaited verdict.

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