Patali’s case to be heard tomorrow
By Hansi Nanayakkara
Colombo High Court (CHC) Judge Damith Thotawatta yesterday fixed hearing of the case filed against SJB MP Patali Champika Ranawaka and two others accused on charges of causing a grievous injury to youth Sandeep Sampath at Rajagiriya five years ago, to start from tomorrow (2).
The ex-Minister and two others have been charged with causing a grievous injury to the said youth, compilation of fake evidence, fleeing after causing a traffic accident, etc., among other charges.
When the case was taken up Thotawatta advised two out of four witnesses who were present in Court at the previous hearing to appear before him when noticed to do so at a future hearing.
Anuja Premaratne (PC) appearing for the first accused Ranawaka and Anil Silva (PC) representing the third accused ASP Sudath Asmadala then raised initial objections regarding the filing of the case before the HC.
The two PCs told the Judge that the AG had indicted their clients on 16 counts and explained that they had been indicted before the HC when the second accused in the trial had pleaded guilty to his offence before the Magistrate’s Court and despite him being penalized and despite that penalty still being effective.
They pointed out that without invalidating the order issued by the Magistrate’s Court, their clients had been charged and accused before the HC by the AG, which they said was contrary to the law and hence should be deemed as unlawful.
Afterwards, the lawyer appearing for the second accused Dilum Thusitha Kumara who had posed off as the driver of the vehicle which was involved in the accident said that his client had provided a statement before the Magistrate’s Court on 29 January last year as per provisions contained in Section 127 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
Hence he mentioned that no initial objections will be raised in this regard by his client. Taking the submissions into perusal the HC Judge informed that though the second accused had accepted before the Magistrate’s Court that he had been at the wheel of the vehicle at the time of the accident, someone else could have driven the vehicle.
The Judge said that similar incidents had taken place aplenty. DSG Dileepa Peiris appearing for the prosecution on behalf of the AG said that the response from the prosecution concerning the objections raised by the defence will be delivered tomorrow.
Thotawatta said that he will not issue an order for the withdrawal of the case and after the response is submitted by the prosecution he will issue an order and advised both parties to come prepared for the trial tomorrow.
The fourth witness in the case the injured youth Sandeep Sampath who is wheelchair bound was also present in Court.
The second, third, fourth and fifth witnesses in the case were also present in Court after being noticed.
The CCD told Court that the first witness in the case who had been noticed to be present was currently employed abroad and added that they had not been able to locate the address of the sixth witness.