Hemasiri and Pujith acquitted and released from Easter Attacks case

Hemasiri and Pujith acquitted and released from Easter Attacks case

Hemasiri and Pujith acquitted and released from Easter Attacks case

Written by Zulfick Farzan

18 Feb, 2022 | 2:18 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Sri Lanka’s Former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and Former Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara were released and acquitted by a Colombo court on Friday (18) from all charges in the Easter Sunday Attacks case.

The cases were called up in the presence of Justices Namal Balalle, Aditya Patabendige, and Mohamed Irshadeen.

The Attorney General filed the cases against Fernando and Jayasundara on charges of criminal dereliction of duty for failing to take action to prevent the Easter attacks despite receiving specific intelligence.

A total of 855 charges of criminal negligence were leveled against Pujith Jayasundera and Hemasiri Fernando, individually.

The Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar ordered to acquit and release Ex-Police Chief Pujith Jayasundara and Ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando from the cases, without calling for evidence from the defense, as the prosecution had failed to prove the charges filed against them.

Justice Aditya Patabendige delivering the summary verdict in court noted that the evidence provided by Director of State Intelligence Nilantha Jayawardena made it clear that he had not carried out his duties in a proper manner, and acted to place that responsibility on someone else.

Justice Aditya Patabendige went on to note that many devotees died under tragic circumstances in the Easter Sunday Terror Attacks that also left many injured, adding that it is not possible to proceed with a case against a person in absence of evidence on such a tragic event.

Justice Aditya Patabendige also noted that one needs to be extra careful when leveling criminal charges against a person, and noted that the arrests of Jayasundara and Fernando on the said charges are also marred with issues.

He also said that it is unacceptable to file cases against Public Servants alone when a political authority exists.

The Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar judge also noted that the defendants had not committed criminal dereliction of duty.

Justices, Namal Balalle, and Mohamed Irshadeen announced that the evidence produced by the prosecution against the defendants also failed to prove the charges brought forward by the prosecution.

The Court said that after the evidence of the prosecution’s first witness, State Intelligence Chief Nilantha Jayawardena, was led, the prosecution should have decided when to proceed with the case or not, however, despite having the opportunity, the prosecution did not reach such a decision.

The court also said the prosecution produced five to six, selective witnesses for their benefit, from the pool of over 1,000 witnesses, and yet, failed to prove the charges in the case.

The Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar met on Friday (18) to announce the decision on whether Ex-Police Chief Pujith Jayasudara and Ex-Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando will be released from the Easter Attacks cases, without calling for evidence from the Defence.

The justices of the Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar unanimously announced that the defendants will be acquitted and released from all charges without calling for evidence from the defense, as the prosecution failed to produce sufficient evidence in the case.

Chairman of the court Justice Namal Ballale in conclusion thanked the officers from the Attorney General’s Department and the staff of the Colombo High Court for assisting to conclude the case within four months.

Report filed with contributions from News 1st Court Correspondent.

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