A Nugegoda Court today released on bail the 16 suspects including Provincial Councillors Maithri Gunaratne and Shiral Laktilleka who were remanded on charges of unlawful assembly, trespassing, and criminal intimidation and damaging the UNP headquarters at Kotte during clashes on Monday.
Nugegoda Magistrate Rohana Anura Kumara Herath ordered them to report to the Mirihana Police every Sunday and warned that if they got involved in such acts in future their bail would be cancelled.
When the case was taken up for inquiry the Mirihana Police filed reports from the opposition leader’s secretary and the presidential secretary that Opposition UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe’s vehicle was given to him temporarily and the damage caused to it had been estimated at some Rs.500,000. The police said the investigations were completed.
Defence Counsel Wasantha Ranasinghe said his clients had nothing to do in causing damage to the UNP headquarters or the Opposition Leader’s vehicle. He said the suspects had attempted to disperse the mob and pleaded with them to stop damaging the property.The counsel said his statement would be further supported if TV visuals and newspaper reports were checked. However, the suspects were arrested based on a list given by the complainant.
He said in clashes in the presence of a massive crowd the Police had depended on the complainant’s list instead of carrying out a proper investigation. The Counsel said even though the Police alleged there was a riot they had failed to produce any victim who had sustained injuries or any report of any victims who had been treated in a hospital.
He said that the damages to the vehicle and to the property had been caused due to sudden provocation of the crowd and not due to any pre-planned action and added that the police who were present failed to arrest anyone during the clashes.
The Counsel said there was no reliable proof against the suspects as alleged by the police and therefore to release them on bail on whatever condition the court may seem fit. (TFT)