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Insufficient investigation exonerates policeman

09 Dec 2023 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

charged for hit-and-run traffic accident

  • Charged with negligent driving, failing to report an accident, and driving without license and insurance

By Lakmal Sooriyagoda  

A policeman who was charged for committing a number of  traffic offences in a hit-and-run accident incident has been acquitted  by the Colombo Traffic Magistrate’s Court taking into account the  failure of the prosecution’s insufficient investigations into the  incident and its failure to identify the accused and crime scene.   

Magistrate I.N. Rizwan acquitted policeman D. Silva from  the charges filed against him for negligent driving, not reporting an  accident, driving a vehicle without a driving licence, revenue licence  and insurance.   
According to the prosecution’s case, the accident took  place on January 24, 2020 at Keppetipola Mawatha, Colombo 5. The  complainant alleged that he was driving a land cruiser jeep, and he was  coming through Police Park, to turn left at Keppetipola Mawatha when the  accused’s jeep came in the same direction. He further alleged that  there was a head-on collision when the police officer came on the wrong  side of the road without going around the roundabout and collided with  him head-on.   

The right-hand side of the complainant’s vehicle was  damaged by the suspect, who drove an old jeep. Accordingly, the  complainant made a complaint that when he alighted from his vehicle, the  four policemen who were in the jeep had also alighted and one of them  was the suspect in this case while the others tried to hit him and they  fled at the scene of the accident.  

The aggrieved party claimed that the accused’s jeep came on  the wrong side of the road. However, Senior Counsel Ian Fernando  appearing for the accused during the cross-examination questioned  whether he had even a photograph to show of the accident, which he had  failed to do so. The aggrieved party contended that it was one of his  official duties when the road signs clearly show that there is a  roundabout.   

The Complainant claimed that he had the video recording of  the said accident through the video camera fixed in his car. However,  the prosecution failed to produce video recordings before court since  objections were taken by the defence that the video recording was not listed  in terms of the Evidence Ordinance (Special Provisions Act) regarding  Electronic Evidence. Accordingly, the prosecution failed to produce the  video footage of the accident.    When the OIC of Cinnamon Gardens Police was cross-examined  by defence counsel Ian Fernando, it was established that he had no proof  of photograph to the said accident and that he had not brought any CCTV  evidence of the said accident and the Scene Of Crime Officer (SOCO) has  not been called at a time when there is a hit and run case which is a  requirement as for the police regulations.  

The Cinnamon Gardens Police Station OIC traffic led the  prosecution. Senior Counsel Ian Fernando with Counsel Malsha Wijerathne  and Mohammed Safras appeared for the defence. Counsel Anuradha  Goonawardhane appeared for the aggrieved party.