Sunday, November 29, 2015

Death sentence for former DIG Vaas Gunawardena and five others

Former DIG Vaas Gunawardena, his son Ravindu Vaas Gunawardena and four police officers were yesterday sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court for committing the murder of millionaire businessman Mohamed Shyam in 2013 at Dompe area.

While handing out a 802-page judgement, Colombo High Court Trial–at-Bar Bench comprising judges Lalith Jayasuriya (President), Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena and Amendra Seneviratne unanimously decided that the prosecutors have proved the accused’ guilty beyond reasonable doubt.

The accused who were ordered to be sentenced to death were; former DIG Vaas Gunawardena and his son Ravindu Vaas Gunawardena, Sub Inspector Indika Bamunuge, Police Constable (PC) Gamini Sarath Chandra, PC Priyanka Sanjeewa and PC Kelum Ranga. The President of the Trial–at-Bar Bench High Court Judge Lalith Jayasuriya read out the sentence ordering all accused to be taken to the Welikada Prison and within the four walls of the prison that on a day and time appointed by the President that he be hanged by the neck until they are dead.

The accused were charged under 10 counts including committing, conspiring to murder, abducting, aiding and abetting to kill businessman Mohammed Shyam on or around May 22, 2013. Out of 10 counts filed by the Attorney General, eight counts had been filed against former DIG in which he found guilty for all charges. The accused had been charged under section 296, 102 and 355 of the Penal Code. The High Court observed that person called Fausdeen had sought the assistance of first accused Vaas Gunawardena to recover money owed to him from deceased Mohamed Shyam. The Court further held that evidence have proved that Fausdeen had invested money at a factory that belongs to Mohamed Shyam. The Court further held that the first accused had instructed the other accused to abduct Mohamed Shyam on or around May 21-22, 2013. The High Court further observed that evidence have proved that all accused involved in abducting and killing of businessman Shyam. Meanwhile, the High Court further observed that the first accused Vaas Gunawardena had performed his duties within an environment where he lives under his own regime. Prior to the pronouncement of the judgement, the High Court asked all accused whether they have anything to say why judgement of death should not be pronounced against them. In reply, all accused denied the charges levelled against them and told that they never involved in this incident.

While expressing his views over the judgement, the former DIG informed Court that the CID is arresting innocent persons under the provision of Terrorism Prevention Act (PTA) in an unfair manner. He said that the CID fabricated evidence against him and arrested him after labeling him as a terrorist. He further said he had no intention of killing a person for the sake of earning money and after using his own son for committing a murder. Meanwhile, accused Ravindu Guanawardena, the son of former DIG told Court that he is proud to be a son of the former DIG.

Deputy Solicitor Genenral Ayesha Jinasena appearing for the Attorney General moved Court that all accused be subjected to death sentence in accordance with the section 296 of the Penal Code. She moved Court that the maximum sentence be passed against the accused in a manner of bringing an example to the society. She further maintained that the first accused had tarnished the image of entire Police Department after holding a higher ranking position. President’s Counsel Anil Silva, Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma, Nevil Abeyratne and Jaliya Samarasinghe appeared for the accused. Deputy Solicitor Genenral Ayesha Jinasena with Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera appeared for the AG.

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