The Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera was today granted bail by Colombo Additional Magistrate considering the special circumstance of his having to attend the funeral of Asgiriya Chapter Mahanayake the Most Ven. Galagama Attadassi Thera.
He was released on bail with three sureties of Rs.6 million each.
In a 46 page order, the Magistrate said the Asgiriya Mahanayake's death was reported after the suspect Dhammaloka Thera was remanded by Court last Wednesday and having considered as a special circumstance had granted bail under Section 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution.
The Magistrate said he had also considered several superior court decisions and other special legal provisions before granting bail.
The Magistrate also rejected the other special circumstances stated by the defence counsel when filing the bail application. He said an elephant is considered a public property under an amendment made to the Fauna and Flora Act and it was bailable only if the Judicial Officer was satisfied with the special circumstances mentioned by the defence counsel.
The Magistrate also affirmed that it was a duty of all citizens to protect public property under the Section 28 of the Sri Lankan Constitution.
Counsel Neville Abeyratne, R.A.P. Ranawaka, Asitha Vipulanayake, Kanchana Ratwatte with a group of lawyers appeared for the suspect while Senior State Counsel Dileepa Peiris appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.
Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera was remanded till March 17 on charges of having illegally retained an elephant calf aged two and half years old at the Alan Mathiniyaramaya Temple in Polhengoda. It was an offence punishable under the Fauna and Flora Act and the Public Property Act. (Shehan Chamika Silva)