The arrested Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Chandra Pushpa Vidanapathirana had been remanded by the Colombo High Court a short while ago until the trail into the killing of a British national is over, legal sources said.
The Colombo High Court issued an arrest warrant on the PS Chairman on January 9, for not appearing in Court during the trial, for the alleged murder of the British tourist and harassment of the victim’s Russian girlfriend at a Tangalle holiday resort on December 2011.
While ordering the accused to be remanded until the trial was over, High Court Judge Rohini Walgama observed that she was not satisfied with the medical reports submitted to Court by the accused, as they were not believable or reliable. Accordingly, the case was fixed for trial to be heard before the Colombo High Court on March 26, 27 and 28.
When the case came up before High Court Judge Rohini Walgama, Defence Counsel Hemantha Gamage appearing for the third accused Vidanapathirana, submitted a medical report justifying the accused’s absence on the previous hearing date. The Defence Counsel submitted to Court that the accused was admitted to a private hospital in Galle on January 8 after falling ill. He said his client was suffering from a cough and a respiratory problem.
Submitting the relevant medical reports in Court, he said the medical doctor who examined the accused had recommended him to relax for seven days from January 7 to January 14. The Counsel further admitted to Court that his client was discharged from the hospital on January 9 at 7.15pm and moved to Court that the arrest warrant issued against him be recalled.
However, Senior State Counsel (SSC) Thusitha Mudalige appearing for the Attorney General questioned the reliability of the medical reports comparing them with a telephone conversation report obtained pertaining to the accused’s mobile phone. The SSC maintained that according to the telephone conversation report, the accused had travelled to several places including Tangalle, Colombo, Beliatta, Wellawatte and Galle between January 7 - January 9, while he claimed he got admitted to a hospital. He questioned as to how such a patient travelled long distances within a short period while his medical doctor had asked him to relax for a few days.
Meanwhile, the High Court Judge also observed that she was not satisfied with the facts presented by the defence counsel and further observed that a counsel should act in a responsible manner citing reliable sources, without undermining the Judiciary.
The case which was called before a Tangalle Court against the accused O.A. Lahiru Kelum, U. Saman Deshapriya, Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Sampath Vidanapathirana, W. Prageeth Chaturanga, M. Sarath alias Sahan, S. Prageeth Chaturanga, was transferred to Colombo by the Attorney General purportedly on the complaint of intimidating the witnesses by the accused. (LS)