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CA overturns death sentence, Premalal, two others acquitted

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Prosecution fails to prove murder charges beyond doubt:
Law & Order

The Court of Appeal yesterday acquitted and discharged three accused, including former Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara who were sentenced to death over the murder of a person during the 2015 Presidential Election in Kahawatta, Ratnapura.

The Ratnapura High Court’s decision to sentence them to death was overturned. The bench of Justices Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and R.Gurusinghe made this order after hearing three appeals filed by them seeking quashing the death sentence imposed on them.

Announcing the judgment, the Court of Appeal maintained that the prosecution had failed to prove charges beyond a reasonable doubt against them and that there was no evidence in the Ratnapura High Court that the accused were in possession of firearms or that they had fired.

The Registrar of the Court of Appeal was directed to refer this order to the Prisons Authority immediately and to refer the case to the Ratnapura High Court.


The three petitions were filed by MP Primalal Jayasekara, former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Councillor Nilantha Jayasinghe and former Chairman of the Kahawatta Pradeshiya Sabha Vajira Dharshana.

Former Power and Energy Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara and two others who were found guilty of shooting to death a person and critically injuring the two individuals in 2015 Presidential Election were sentenced to death by the Ratnapura High Court on July 31, 2020.

Three accused including Premalal Jayasekara, former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council member Nilantha Jayasinghe and former Kahawatta Pradeshiya Sabha chairman Vajira Darshana were charged over an alleged assault committed during the 2015 Presidential election period, killing one person and causing critical injuries on two others by gunshots as the victims (UNP supporters) were decorating an election stage of the Common Candidate of the Presidential Election Maithripala Sirisena in Kahawatta, Ratnapura.

The petitioners has sought from the Court of Appeal to deem that the Order convicting them of the alleged murder is null and void as it contains shortcomings due to contradictory evidence put forth before the trial.

They have therefore moved the Court of Appeal to issue an Order to overturn the conviction issued on them by the said HC having deemed it faulty and to thereby acquit them from the charges filed against him and discharge from the case.

The petitions were filed seeking annulment of the judgment of the Ratnapura High Court as it was erroneous.

Accused, including MP Premalal Jayasekara, had filed the appeals seeking their acquittal and release, citing the manner in which they had been sentenced to death as illegal.

After considering the petitions for several days, the court concluded its hearing. President’s Counsels Nalin Ladduwahetty with Attorneys Hafeel Farisz, Buddhika Chandrasekara and Niran Ankatel appeared for the petitioners.Deputy Solicitor General Dilan Ratnayake appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.


Friday, April 1, 2022 – 01:13

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