First accused acquitted, appeals of three others dismissed

Bharatha murder case:


By Chitra Weerarathne

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court yesterday acquitted the first accused appellant police officer Anura Thushara de Mel, of murder of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and the sentence of death imposed on him by the High Court Trial-at-Bar was set aside.

He was the bodyguard of Duminda Silva.

 The appeals of the third accused appellant Chaminda Ravi Jayanath the seventh accused appellant Sarath Bandara and the eleventh accused appellant Duminda Silva were dismissed.

Thereby, the High Court Trial-at-Bar conviction of murder and the sentence of death, imposed on the third, seventh and eleventh accused were affirmed.

The Trial-at-Bar sentence was delivered on Sept. 8, 2016.

The Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar imposed death penalty on four accused. They were Duminda Silva, Anura Thushara de Mel, Chaminda Ravi Jayanath and D.M. Sarath Kumara Bandara.

The incident occurred at Himbutana, Mulleriyawa on October 8, 2011, the day of a Provincial Council poll.

The accused were indicted for unlawful assembly, conspiracy to murder, aiding and abetting the murder.

At the inception 13 persons were indicted. Nine were acquitted at the end of the High Court Trial-at-Bar.

The convicted persons appealed to the Supreme Court seeking to set aside the conviction and sentence.

The five Judge bench comprised the Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena, Justice Nalin Perera and Justice Vijith Malalgoda.

Deputy Solicitor General Thusith Mudalige appeared for the Attorney General.

Counsels Shavindra Fernando P.C., Anil Silva P.C., Anuja Premaratne P.C. appeared for the accused appellants.

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