The Supreme Court has awarded one million rupees against the two policemen attached to Circuit Crime Investigation Division of Anuradhapura as compensation for the injuries that an individual sustained as a result of torture and illegally arresting him mistakenly over a theft of a motor bicycle.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court held that police officers are bound to treat every person with dignity and respect.
Supreme Court Justice S.thurairaja observed that Police officers are expected to extend common courtesies at all times when dealing with the public.
The Court has repeatedly upheld that police officers, being state officers tasked with law enforcement and the maintenance of law and order, have an utmost responsibility in respecting, safeguarding and advancing these rights, the Supreme Court held.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court further observed that the Court does not hold the State responsible for the alleged violations of Fundamental Rights of the petitioner, since Police Sergeant Wijesinghe and
Police Constable Wanninayake had been indicted before Anuradhapura High Court for violation of Section 2(4) of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act No. 22 Of 1994.
The petitioner, Gurusinghe Senevirathnage Tharindu Priyan Akalanka, a resident of Mihintale was arrested on
20th September 2017 by a team of police officers attached to the Circuit Crime Investigation Division, Anuradhapura and he was detained in police custody for four days. During that period, the Petitioner states that he was subjected to torture, inhuman treatment which includes being handcuffed, being hung with a rope in a teak tree, being assaulted etc.
Upon the Petitioner being released by the Circuit Crime Investigation Unit of Anuradhapura, the Petitioner was admitted to the Anuradhapura Teaching Hospital for medical treatment.the Petitioner was treated and discharged after 12 days. The real suspect had been later arrested using CCTV footage.
Contrary to the above position, the Respondents submit that the Petitioner was injured during the arrest when the Petitioner had struggled and tried to flee, whereupon he injured himself by running into a fence.
Justice Thurairaja stated that he was of the view that the MLR report and reports issued by the Neurophysiology Unit submitted to Court establishes and supports the position taken by the Petitioner and not that of the Respondents in this matter. The Supreme Court further held that the petitioner’s recounting of the incidents is corroborated by the affidavits of his parents and the medical reports.the court further observed that the respondents have failed to provide adequate explanation as to how the petitioner received such injuries on his neck, hands and the upper limbs of the body. The MLR strongly corroborates the fact that the Petitioner was hung for a considerable period of time as there were injuries on the upper part of the body including the neck.
The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Vijith Malalgoda,
Justice S.thurairaja and Justice Mahinda Samayawardena declared that two policemen have violated the Fundamental Rights of the Petitioner.(Lakmal Sooriyagoda)