CA acquits and discharges monk convicted of rape of minor

Badulla HC faulted for delaying judgment, failure of prosecution to establish charge of rape

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Court of Appeal on June 19, 2014 acquitted and discharged a Buddhist monk convicted by the Badulla High Court for rape and sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal has given as reasons for the acquittal the inordinate delay by the Badulla High Court to pronounce the judgment, subsequent to the conclusion of the trial and further the failure of the prosecution to establish the charge of rape.

The accused appellant monk, Ven. Vegama Punyasara, who was aged 20 years of age at the date of allegedly committing the offence on March 28, 1998 is the chief incumbent of Unawatuna Temple, Badulla. The victim girl was about ten years old at that time.

The Badulla High Court on December 17, 2009 found the accused guilty of the offence of rape and sentenced him to ten years rigorous imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal judgment explained that the trial had been concluded on August 8, 2008. The judgment had been delivered on, December 7, 2009.

Counsel Rienzie Arsecularatne P.C. appeared for the accused appellant in the Court of Appeal.

Additional Solicitor General, Vijith Malalgoda P.C., appeared for the Attorney General.

The Judgment was by Justice Chandra Jayatillake with Justice A. W. A. Salaam, President of the Court of Appeal agreeing.

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