Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Chandrapushpa Vidana Pathirana today making a statement from the dock during the Khuram Sheik murder trial told High Court Judge Rohini Walgama said that his political rivals had intentionally involved him in the Khuram Sheik murder case in a bid to tarnish his character and to damage his political career.
He said he joined politics at 24 and since then served his constituents. He said he did not have any grudge with the deceased or his girl friend and that he did not engage in any kind of brawl with the victim or raped Victoria Alexandra in December 24, 2011 at the Tangalle Resort. He also said he did not have any previous criminal record and was not answerable for the killing.
First accused A Lahiru Kelum making his dock statement said he was born in 1993 and was 18 when the incident took place at the Tangalle Resort. He said his family comprised his parents and two younger sisters. He said he studied up to the G.C.E ordinary level. He said on the day of the Christmas party in the hotel he went to the hotel to around 7.30 or 8.00 p m to take part in the dance.
He said about 150 locals and foreigners participated in the dance and he too joined them and danced to DJ music. He said the dance hall was ill illuminated with Disco lights.
By midnight when crackers and fireworks were being lit he heard someone shouting ‘”Fighting fighting” then he saw some people striking others with chairs. He said however he did not got involved in the fight nor assaulted the victim or his girl friend.
He said he never damaged the furniture of the hotel and carried weapons or shot anyone. He said he did not have any reason to assault Khuram Sheik or his girl friend as the prosecution alleged.
He said he too ran away with the other guests who also ran away. However the following morning he came to know that he was wanted by the Tangalle Police for the incident in the hotel so he went to Tangalle Police with his father and a lawyer.
He said that he was asked to wait and his father and the lawyer were asked to go stating that the police wanted to record his statement.
On the same day around 8.00 pm he was handed over to CID Officer Jagath Rohana who blindfolded him, tied his hands and took him to an unknown place where he was assaulted. Later he was once again brought to the Tangalle Police.
The following morning he saw Tangalle Resort Manager Tharanga Pieris standing near the lockup with some others Then the Police officers pointing him to Mrs Pieris told her that “He is the culprit, He is the culprit”. Thereafter Tharanga Peiris and the others went away. Later the police remanded him
The second accused Saman Deshapriya, in his dock statement said he was born in Homagama, married and having two daughters. He said he attended the Christmas party in the hotel for the first time.
The accused said when he went to have meals to the buffet hall he heard people shouting “fighting, fighting” Then he saw people fighting near the swimming pool. He said he too went there and saw someone lying on the ground, As he bent down to see who he was somebody hit him on his hand with a club shouting “You devil what are you looking for ”. He said ran away in fear. He had come to know about the murder the following day and went to the Tangalle Police to make a statement.
W. Prageeth Chaturanga, the fourth accused making his dock statement said he did not get involved in any kind of fighting or rape of the girl. However there was a fight among some guests who came to the party and there were broken glasses and bottles spread around the floor of the hotel, he said.
He said he had also suffered cut injuries due to broken pieces of glass. He said he never shot or assaulted the foreigner nor threatened to shoot as alleged by the hotel’s manager Tharanga Pieris in her evidence. He said he was shown to Tharanga Pieris.
The fifth accused M. Sarath alias Sahan said he was a graduate and had worked as a tutor and Dhampasal teacher. He said he was a Human Recourses Manager. He said he never encouraged his pupils or any others to commit crime or to engage in .mischief. He said as the witnesses asserted he attempted to stop the fight and none of the witnesses gave evidence against him.
Fifth accused S. Prageeth Chaturanga, said he was not involved in any kind of crime.
The trial was postponed for today for the Prosecution Counsel Thusith Mudalige to make his address. (T. Farook Thajudeen)