Defendant acquitted after OIC concedes fake signature in hooch case
Thambuttegama Magistrate Buddhika Malwatte ordered the acquittal and release of a defendant in a case related to the possession of thirty (30) bottles of illegal liquor due to the fact that the Officer-In-Charge of the Priyankaragama Police had submitted a false affidavit with a forged signature to the Court. The defendant is a resident of Thambuttegama Kalundegama. In relation to the charge of possessing 30 bottles of illegal liquor against this accused, the case number 72680 before the Magistrate’s Court of Thambuttegama, regarding the referral of the case exhibits (samples) to the Government Analyst, Chief Inspector Laksiri Wickremage of the Priyankaragama Police had given his sworn testimony to Court had said that the signature on the affidavit relating to the referral of the case exhibits related to this case to the Government Analyst was his signature.
Meanwhile, Magistrate Buddhika Malwatte, who focused on another affidavit signed by Chief Inspector Laksiri Wickremage in relation to another case pending before the Thambuttegama Magistrate’s Court, asked witness Chief Inspector Wickremage about the affidavits given by him in connection with two cases in Court and said that there are two contradictory signatures placed in those two.
Magistrate Malwatte also said that if the two relevant signatures have to be sent to the Government Analyst to verify the authenticity of these two signatures, there is a risk of the witness, the Chief Police Inspector losing his job. Chief Inspector Wickremage, the Officer-In-Charge of the Priyankaragama Police informed Court that the signature on the affidavit submitted by him in relation to the case bearing number 72680 pending before the Thambuttegama Magistrate’s Court is not his true signature.
The witness, Inspector further stated before the Court that he accepts the fact the signature is a fake signature.
Attorney Lal Talagalla, who appeared for the accused in this case, told Court, the witness Chief Inspector Laksiri Wickremage came to the witness box of this Court and gave his testimony on oath and promised that what he is declaring to Court is true and said at first that the affidavit submitted to the Court in relation to case bearing number 72680 of this Court contained his true signature.”
However, later, attorney Talagalla, who stressed to Court that the witness, the Inspector himself admitted that the signature on the relevant affidavit was fake, mentioned further that there is a problem in continuing this case due to the affidavit with a fake signature.
Thambuttegama Magistrate Buddhika Malwatte, who paid attention to these facts, stated in open Court that the signature on the affidavit submitted to Court in relation to sending case exhibits (samples) to the Government Analyst in relation to this case bearing number 72680 was accepted by Chief Inspector Laksiri Wickremage the witness, as false. The Magistrate also said that the relevant affidavit affects the substance of the case. Magistrate Malwatte said that even if this case is continued, Court does not have the ability to convict the accused and accordingly he ordered that the accused be acquitted and released from the charge of possessing 30 bottles of illegal liquor. Attorney Srilal Talagalla appearing for the accused and the Police officers of Thambuttegama appeared for the prosecution. The current Officer-In-Charge of the Priyankaragama Police, Chief Inspector Laksiri Wickremage was working at the Thambuttegama Police station at the time. This illegal liquor raid was carried out and a case was filed against Priyantha Herath under the number 72680 before the Thambuttegama Magistrate’s Court.
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