Kusal Mendis enlarged on bail
By M.C. Perera – Colombo and Sumith Ranawaka – Pothupitiya
Panadura Chief Magistrate Chandana Kalansuriya yesterday ordered Cricketer Kusal Mendis, who was arrested and produced in Court, on charges of causing the death of a person near the 13th Mile Post in Horethuduwa, having knocked him down with his vehicle in a fatal accident, to be enlarged on two sureties of Rs 1 million each.
The deceased was identified as 64-year-old Neville Peiris, a father of three and a resident of North Gorakapola, Panadura.
The victim who had been employed as a private bus conductor had been on his way on his push cycle to the Moratuwa Town at dawn on 5 July to begin work, when he was knocked down by the luxury vehicle which had come from the opposite direction and was driven by the suspect.
Police informed Court that after a mobile patrol unit had been alerted of the fatal accident they had admitted the victim to the Panadura Hospital and stated that even before admission he had succumbed to injuries.
The suspect Kusal Mendis had then surrendered to Police after about an hour,following the fatal accident.
The suspect was then arrested and produced in Court on five charges of causing a fatal accident, fleeing after causing the accident, failure to admit the injured to hospital, failure to prevent an accident and reckless driving.
Panadura Police told Chief Magistrate Kalansuriya that they had already taken blood samples from the suspect to ascertain whether he had driven the vehicle under the influence of liquor and that they were yet to receive a report from Colombo.
Attorney Premaratna Jayasingha making submissions on behalf of the prosecution told Court that the accident cannot be termed a mere mishap as it has claimed a life. He said the incident has to be construed as a fatal accident and added the victim had been working as a conductor of a private bus plying on the Panadura-Colombo route.
Attorney-at-Law Jayasingha further said that due to the death of the victim, the latter’s family has been badly affected as he had been the sole breadwinner.
He also explained that the deceased had travelled on the road on the right side and charged that the accused had driven his vehicle flouting road rules and hence had caused the fatal accident before fleeing the scene of the accident.
Kapila Waidyarathna PC appearing for the accused Mendis told Court that his client had not committed the fatal accident intentionally. He stated that his 25-year-old client was full of remorse over the fatal accident. He added the suspect was noted for behaving in a responsible manner and stressed the suspect immensely regretted the accident that caused a loss of life.
Waidyaratna PC said, “This accident had taken place after my client was suffering from acute exhaustion. Following the accident he had gone with his father to the Police Station and had surrendered. He is not known to avoidCourt. There is CCTV footage concerning this accident. Hence, I urge Court to enlarge the suspect on bail as he has a bright future ahead of him. We also urge this Court to allow the defence to make a compensation of Rs 200,000 to the family of the deceased.”
The prosecution did not object to the request made by the defence to enlarge the suspect on bail. The Attorney-at-Law looking into the interest of the victim sought a sum of Rs 1 million as compensation for the family of the deceased. The lawyers appearing for the suspect consented to the request that was made to Court by the prosecution.
The balance Rs. 800,000 was promised to be handed over to the family of the victim by the defence lawyers at the next hearing dates of the case. They had also promised a sum of Rs. 80,000 as funeral expenses to the family of the victim. The Chief Magistrate stated there was the possibility to enlarge the suspect on bail having perused the B report compiled by the Police and ordered him to be granted bail on two sureties of Rs 1 million each.
The Court also ordered to temporarily impound the passport of the suspect.