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Gampaha High Court grants bail to former CID Director and SI Sugath Mendis



Bailed out by CoA earlier but re-remanded as bail conditions not submitted to court

Former director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) SSP Shani Abeysekara and Sub-Inspector Sugath Mohana Mendis were released on bail by the Gampaha High Court on Thursday after bail conditions imposed by the Court of Appeal were fulfilled.

Gampaha High Court Number 2 Judge S. Y. Mapa Bandara ordered the Superintendents of the Welikada and Mahara prisons to release the two suspects.

On Wednesday, the Court of Appeal released SSP Abeysekara and SI Mendis on cash bail of Rs 25,000 and two personal bonds of one million rupees each.

The two-member Court of Appeal bench comprising Justice Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and Justice Ratnapriya Gurusinghe made this order pursuant to revision applications filed on behalf of the two suspects seeking an order to enlarge them on bail.

Court also rescinded the December 9, 2020 order by the Gampaha High Court refusing bail to the two suspects.

However, later in the day, Gampaha Chief Magistrate Manjula Karunaratne directed that the former CID director and two other suspects be further remanded till June 30, 2021, as their bail conditions had not been submitted in writing to court.

Abeysekara and SI Mendis are accused of fabricating evidence in a case filed against former DIG Vass Gunawardena, his son and six other suspects over the alleged possession of firearms.

Prison officers informed the Chief Magistrate that the suspects were not produced in court due to the prevailing Covid-19 situation.

Counsel Srinath Seneviratne appearing on behalf of Navaratne Prematilleka, one of the suspects, said that the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) has not completed recording the statement of his client who has remained in remand custody for 280 days.

CCD Inspector D. J. Nishantha, who appeared in Court in response to summons issued, said the long statements given by the suspect resulted in the delay in concluding the process.

The Chief Magistrate directed the CCD to record the suspect’s statement over three days during the next two weeks at the Mahara prison and report the progress in this regard to Court on June 30.

The third suspect in this case is Nishantha de Silva, a former Inspector of the CID, who is now overseas. However, there was no mention of him during the day’s proceedings.

The Court of Appeal directed that Abeysekara’s passport and any other travel document be surrendered to the Gampaha High Court and that he should not leave the country without prior permission of Court. Any change of residence should also be notified to Court.

The two suspects who were arrested by the police in July 2020 have been in remand custody since then.

Representing the Attorney General’s Department, Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya objected to bail being granted to the two suspects. Overruling the objections, Court released them on bail.

Under the direction of Counsel, Gowri Sangari Thavarasa, attorney-at-law Viran Corea appeared on behalf of Shani Abeysekara, while attorneys Isuru Gamage, Hafeel Fariz and Vigaswari Jayatilleka led by senior counsel Chaminda Athukorala represented the second suspect, Sugath Mendis.

Earlier, the Gampaha High Court rejected a revision application filed by the two suspects seeking bail. Later, they moved the Court of Appeal to reverse the order.

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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused



By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?



By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.



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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas



By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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