April 17, 2012, 10:27 pmBy Mike Andree
It was revealed in Court yesterday that Member of Parliament Duminda Silva was not a fugitive from Justice but was a patient undergoing treatment for the grievous injuries sustained in the local government elections day shooting incident of last October.
When the Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s case was taken up for support yesterday, President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, appearing for Duminda Silva, the aggrieved party, who had been allegedly shot by Premachandra’s bodyguard, submitted to Court an affidavit, sworn by Duminda’s father, Premalal Silva. It revealed that Duminda Silva was undergoing treatment in Singapore.
Counsel Warnakulasuriya submitted to Court that according to the evidence recorded by the CID, Duminda Silva was the first to sustain grievous injury when Premachandra’s bodyguard opened fire. He said his client was currently undergoing treatment abroad for the injuries sustained and the affidavit revealed the hospital, city and country where he was being treated. Counsel Warnakulasuriya requested the Court to keep the document in the safe, but said he had no objection to the contents of the document being disclosed to the CID for further investigations.
At this stage ASP Shani Abeysekera, of the CID, in charge of the investigations, said that he had recorded the statement of Duminda Silva’s father. He said Duminda Silva was warded at the Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore, where he was due to undergo further surgery this month. Thus he would be unable to be present in Court.
President’s Counsel Thirantha Wallaliyadda, appearing for Bharatha Lakshman Premachanra’s family, said that he could not permit President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya to appear for Duminda Silva, as he (Duminda) was a suspect and not an aggrieved person. He said that there could not be more than one aggrieved party in a case. At this stage, Counsel Warnakulasuriya interrupted saying that in any case there could be more than one person who sustained physical injury or material loss and the Criminal Procedure did not preclude anyone of the injured persons from retaining a lawyer of his own choice to represent his grievances. He said that it had been established beyond doubt that Duminda Silva had been shot first by a security guard and he had sustained serious gunshot injuries. Therefore, he and his family had the right to retain a lawyer.
Colombo Chief Magistrate Prasanna Alwis said that he had made order permitting any aggrieved person to be represented by Counsel.
Thereafter Counsel Wallaliyadde said that on the last occasion Merril Ranjan of the CID had been absent and proceedings must be initiated to charge him for contempt of Court, for being absent from Court when the case was called.
The Chief Magistrate observed that after the Court adjourned, the officer concerned had met him in the Chambers and said that he had come to court but was out when the case was called. Therefore, there was no need to take any further action.
Counsel Walliyadde said that an order had been made by the Magistrate to arrest Duminda Silva but it had not been carried out. Therefore, he had lost faith in the CID carrying out the orders of the Court and arresting Silva. But, he said, if the Court issued a warrant, then the Interpol help could be sought to have the suspect arrested and brought to Court within a very short time. Therefore, he said, under section 9 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the Court was empowered to issue a warrant when it found that the CID was not carrying out the orders of the Magistrate.
In refusing the application, Chief Magistrate Prasanna Alwis said that the offence was such that a police officer could arrest the suspect without a warrant and the CID had not made an application to Court for a warrant to be issued. The CID had always maintained that he could be arrested. Therefore, the application by the President’s Counsel was refused, the Magistrate said.
At this stage, President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya said that following the order made by this Court to name Duminda Silva as a suspect, the CID had recorded over one hundred statements, which without any doubt established that Duminda Silva was not a suspect but a victim.
Chief Magistrate Prasanna Alwis said that the investigations had been concluded and the Information Books and investigation notes were with the AG. If the AG decided to discharge anyone and not file plaint against anyone on the evidence provided, the Court had no power to interfere or would not interfered with such an order. The ultimate authority was the AG, the Chief Magistrate said.
Hemantha Warnakulasuriya PC with L. A. C. Cardos, Weersinghe Ranahewa, Chandrasiri Wijesinghe and Mrs. Inoka Gamage, instructed by Indrajith Ameratunga appeared for Duminda Silva, the aggrieved party.
Thirantha Wallaliyadda PC with Upul Kumarapperuma appeared for the relatives of Bharatha Laxman Premachandra.
Anuja Premaratna appeared for the first suspect.
ASP Shani Abeysekera of the CID appeared for the prosecution.
The suspects in the case were further remanded till the April 27.