HC hands down death sentence to all four accused

Angulana double murder Trial-at-Bar

By Jayantha de Silva

All four accused in the Angulana double murder were yesterday sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar Judges Deepali Wijesundera, W. T. M. P. Warawewa and Kumudini Wickremasinghe.

Former OIC of the Angulana Police Post Tumbegedera Winnie Newton, Police Constable Galagamage Indrawansa Kumarasiri and Jayaratne Dammika Nihal along with Civil Defence Force cadre Godapitiwatte Janapriya Senaratne were found guilty on all eight charges preferred against them under the Penal Code. They were charged with conspiracy to abduct, abduction and murder of two youth, namely Danuska Udayakantha Apponso and Dinesh Taranga Fernando, on August 12, 2009, when they were in the custody of the Angulana Police post.

Handing down the death sentence, the Trial-at-Bar Judges also sentenced all four to 40 years rigorous imprisonment and fined them Rs. 100,000 each.

The death sentence was handed down in respect of the third, fourth, seventh and eighth charges.

The first two indictments related to the charges of conspiring to abduct.

The third and fourth indictments were, conspiring to murder and exposing the two youths to danger.

The fifth and sixth charges related to abduction and the seventh and eight, committing murder.

All accused were charged with joining in to commit the offences.

Conviction on the first, second, third and fourth charges carried with it 10 years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs.25,000 on each count.

In the event of default of the fine, an additional six months imprisonment was imposed.

At the outset, the Trial-at-Bar ruling, that the prosecution had proved all charges against the four accused beyond reasonable doubt, was read by Court Interpreter S. A. M. Nafli.

Before imposing the sentence the accused were asked whether they had anything to state.

All four spoke from the dock.

The first accused said that at the time of the incident he was in the cab in which the two murdered youths had travelled. The OIC had alighted from the vehicle with Dammika, the third accused, who carried a T-56 weapon. After a while a gunshot was heard.

He said that he is not involved in the murders and complained that he had been subjected to injustices in the investigative process. He urged that the case be submitted to the attention of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The second accused also said that he was not connected to the double murder.

Accused Vinnie Newton said that untrained police novices had a hand in the investigations and there was no evidence to prove his involvement in the double murder.

The fourth accused said that high ranking police officers had implicated him and he had no connection to the incident.

Deputy Solicitor General Jayantha Jayasuriya, along with State Counsels Lakmini Giriyagama, Chaminda Athukorala Yohan Liyanage, Riyas Bari appeared for the Attorney General.

At the conclusion of the trial, the parents of the victims expressed their gratitude to President Mahinda Rajapaksa for justice being meted out.

The mother worshipped Superintendent Police Shanie Abeysinghe of the CID who led the investigating team.

A banner with the pictures of the deceased youths was unveiled outside the Court.

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