SLPP MPs Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayatilleke who were arrested and produced before Court in connection to the attack carried out on peaceful protesters in front of the Temple Trees and the Presidential Secretariat on 9 May, were ordered to be remanded till 25 May 2022 by Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage yesterday (18).
The Magistrate said the court was of the view that the suspects, as lawmakers, should have acted more responsibly to prevent such a situation. The suspects were remanded on the grounds that the injured are still being treated at hospitals, recording statements from every injured person has not yet been concluded,as there is a possibility of suspects causing public unrest and interfering with the investigation.
The Magistrate also directed the Superintendent of Prisons to ensure the security of the suspects inside prison and provide them with the necessary facilities to attend Parliamentary sessions as they are Members of Parliament.
Deputy Solicitor General RiyasBarik and Deputy Solicitor General Lakmini Gihagama appeared for the Attorney General on behalf of the CID.
Deputy Solicitor General Riyaz Barik: I am presenting a summary report on the fourth suspect, Sanath Nishantha, who was produced before the court today. I present a concise report of the testimonies of three witnesses.
Magistrate: The evidence states that a Police Officer was present.
Deputy Solicitor General Riyaz Barik: Yes your honour, we are investigating further on that matter.
Magistrate: Evidence states that Senior DIG DeshabanduTennakoon was present at the scene.
Deputy Solicitor General Riyaz Barik: Yes, we are investigating that as well.
Your honour, I am also submitting to the Court a summary report containing evidence regarding Milan Sajith Jayatilleke who was produced today as the fifth suspect in this case. A witness by the name of Indunil stated that the suspect, Milan Jayatilleke, had come to the protest site with others and surrounded him and said, “Kill him.”
Another witness has given a statement that the suspect Jayatilleke had assaulted him. There is very clear eyewitness account regarding these two suspects,
sir. Accordingly, the two suspects were arrested and produced before Court today. Investigations are not over yet. The injured are still receiving treatment. Accordingly, if the suspects are granted bail, there could be a public riot. It can also interfere with investigations, sir. In view of all these, the suspects are requested to be remanded.
U.R. de Silva, PC appearing for suspect Sanath Nishantha: Sir, it is true that my client went to Temple Trees that day .He had gone to GotaGoGama to stop the commotion after learning of the incident. In fact, my client was attacked by a group there. The photos I submit to the court show my client being attacked.
Magistrate: Are there only photographic evidence to say that these suspects were involved in the assault.
Deputy Solicitor General Barik: No, sir, the complaint has video evidence to show these suspects were involved in the assault. The CD, which was presented to the Court by the plaintiff when the case was taken up last day, contains that evidence, sir.
President’s Counsel Razik Farooq appearing for the fifth suspect Milan Jayatilleke: I do not accept the statements of the witnesses, sir. I went to Temple Trees but not in this regard. Things were not going well. The road was not closed. This incident would not have happened if the road had been closed. This would not have happened if those who were supposed to carry out their duties did so genuinely. My client went there to stop that assault and bring the situation under control, sir. I request that my client be released on any bail terms.
Magistrate: There are three reasons for granting bail to a suspect in the provisions of the Bail Act. Can’t these people, as Members of Parliament, influence the evidence?
President’s Counsel Razik Farooq: No sir now, the situation is different, their property has been severely damaged.
President’s Counsel Upul Jayasuriya on behalf of the aggrieved party: So far, the B report has been presented to the Court. No one entering the Temple Trees had batons orclubs in their hands. It seems these weapons and things came to their hands inside the Temple Trees, because they were equipped with clubs when coming out of Temple Trees.
By Hansi Nanayakkara