Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Rathupaswala shooting Case Accused acquitted after more than ten years

18 May 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

  • Charges not established beyond reasonable doubt   
  • Four killed in 2013 in public protest against contamination of groundwater due to wastes from a factory   
  • Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena among accused acquitted   

By Upali Ranaweera   

An Army Brigadier and three others who stood indicted with the murder of four individuals and causing serious injuries to 15 others by opening fire during a public protest in Weliweriya town on August 01, 2013 against contamination of underground water in Rathupaswala and Nedungamuwa areas with chemical waste from a factory, were acquitted yesterday after a trial-at-bar.   

Four protestors Don Akila Dinesh, Ravishan Perera, Nilantha Pushpakumara and Shavin Chamika had been killing in the shooting.   

The accused acquitted were Brigadier Anura Deshapriya Gunawardena, Anurage Sirisena, J.M.Tilakaratne and Lalith Gey.   

The Attorney General had filed indictments on 75 counts including unlawful assembly, attempt to murder and murder.   

The three-member bench comprising High Court Judges Nimal Ranaweera, Sahan Mapa Bandara and Rashmi Singappuli held that the prosecution failed to establish the charges against the accused beyond reasonable doubt to secure a conviction.   

President of the Bench Justice Nimal Ranaweera further held that the charges against the accused had not been investigated in keeping with the requirements of the laws. 

President’s Counsel Anuja Premaratne, Attorneys at Law Dale Gunaratne, Shirani Disanayake and Chamath Wickramasinghe appeared for the defence.