Colombo High Court Judge Gihan Kulatunga today discontinued the hearing of the trial against former Magistrate Thilina Gamage as the Court of Appeal issued an order staying proceedings of the High Court for two days.
Former Magistrate Thilina Gamage and three others had been indicted by the Attorney General for allegedly keeping an elephant in contravention to the Public Property and Fauna and Flora Act sans a valid license.
The trial of the case has so far been continued at Court Number - 3 of the High Court before Judge Gihan Kulatunga. However, the defence had recently filed an application in the Court of Appeal under Section 46 of the Judicature Act (transfer of case).
Considering the application, the Court of Appeal had decided to hear the application on January 29 and thereby issued an order staying the ongoing High Court proceedings for two days. Nalin Ladduwahetti PC, Counsel Hafeel Farisz, instructed by Lakini Silva appeared in the Court of Appeal.
Meanwhile, Anil Silva PC who informed about the Court of Appeal's order in High Court revealed that former Magistrate Thilina Gamage had informed the presidential commission that he had been politically victimised by former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by filing this case as he refused to act according to the former premier’s instructions when serving as a magistrate.
The AG alleged that the former magistrate had kept an elephant without a valid license and conspired with other suspects to obtain a forged licence from the Wildlife Department. The prosecution accused that the registration of the elephant was allegedly obtained after capturing it from the forest.
The other suspects are M.B.C.B. Yatawara, H. Priyanka Sanjeewani and P.F. Upali Padmasiri. The elephant was worth at least Rs.6.9 million. (Shehan Chamika Silva)