Thalduwe Somarama Thera’s trial

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By 2017-10-15

BY Udeni Saman Kumara

Police gave Somarama Thera opium and manipulated a confession out of him. "Somarama in his confession said that the date for shooting the Prime Minister had been specified as 25 September. If so, why did he visit the Prime Minister's house on 24 September and on two occasions before that?

In the confession it is stated that one shot was fired from the verandah and the other three shots from inside the house. However, in evidence, it was stated that all four shots were fired from the
verandah.

Somarama Thera who was used to taking opium, had it given to him by the police. Rajasuriya who was a non-smoker and other police officers gave cigarettes to Somarama. It was done in order to get an admission out of him. Police officers behaved in Remand Prison just like they behave at home. The Prisons Commissioner had allowed them to do anything. Permission to see prisoners in remand was obtained via the telephone. It is apparent that permission had been received even before it was requested.

The Plaintiff says that prior to 25 September, Somarama had gone to see the Prime Minister on several occasions. He had gone twice to the Prime Minister's office and twice to his house in order to tell him about the Ayurveda Hospital. If 25 September had been selected as the day for shooting the Prime Minister, why did he go in search of the Prime Minister on previous occasions?

If Somarama had the idea of shooting and killing the Prime Minister, he would have stayed away as much as possible from other people. However, Somarama has behaved in his usual manner at the Amara Vihara. He had provided accommodation in his room to a patient as well. Evidence given by a child named Somaratne who was staying in Somarama's room cannot be accepted. Somaratne has not made a statement to police of his own desire. Police went in search of him and noted down a statement. Somaratne accepted the fact that police officers gave him money. Not only Somaratne's but the evidence of any witness at the Amara Vihara cannot be trusted. Why was not an identification parade held for witnesses of the Amara Vihara in order to identify Buddharakkhitha Thera and Jayawardena? Although the witnesses said that they saw Buddharakkhitha Thera and Jayawardena at the temple, in reality, they had not seen the two of them there." At this juncture the Judge interrupting Weeramanthri's speech had this to say: "Mr. Weeramanthri, the photographs of the Defendants was published in newspapers. Therefore, there would have been no point in holding an identification parade. Not only in Sri Lankan newspapers, but they appeared in newspaper in London too."

"If he went to commit a murder while hiding a revolver, would he have taken other people in the taxi he travelled in? A person going to kill the Prime Minister does not behave in that manner. The taxi driver who took Somarama from the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation to Rosmead place, Pilek Singho could not identify Somarama. He said that while travelling in the vehicle Somarama had mentioned, "the Prime Minister is destroying the country." Many people said those days that the Prime Minister was destroying the country. This saying cannot be used against Somarama. Somarama had also mentioned that the Prime Minister going to the United Nations Organization and returning as well. If, Somarama had gone that day with the idea of shooting the Prime Minister he would not have mentioned the Prime Minister returning.

The jury should be very careful in acting upon the evidence of Amarasinghe who is an accomplice. If the evidence given by Newton Perera is true, then he too is an accomplice. However, I say that his evidence is totally false. The evidence of one accomplice cannot be used to prove another's evidence.

Newton Perera was ready to give evidence from the very beginning. He took the stand and filled in the shortcomings of the Plaintiff in a clever manner. He gave evidence in the way that the Plaintiff wanted him to. It is clear that the powerful people had given a promise that he would be forgiven. He gave evidence as a witness of the Plaintiff. The Plaintiff treated him in that manner too.

"When considering the doubt that arose when this case was being heard, Somarama is not guilty. The only verdict that can be given regarding both the accusations against Somarama is that he is not guilty."

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