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Five-member expert panel of JMOs to be appointed

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To ascertain whether the death of Schaffter was a murder or a suicide

Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya issuing an order yesterday (17) stated that it has been decided to obtain the opinion from a five-member expert panel of Judicial Medical Officers (JMOs) to ascertain whether the death of businessman Dinesh Schaffter is a murder or a suicide. The Magistrate who said that it is not possible to say for certain whether the death of Dinesh Schaffter is a murder or suicide, since the post-mortem examination report and the brief report on death submitted to Court are contradictive to each other, stated that it is suitable to obtain the opinion of a panel of specialist Judicial Medical Officers in that connection.

Issuing the order, the Magistrate said that she will appoint the Judicial Medical Officers and the Forensic Medical Officers based on their seniority.

Deputy Solicitor General Janaka Bandara representing the plaintiffs requested permission to submit facts to the court on behalf of the Criminal Investigation Department, regarding the investigation. The court rejected the Deputy Solicitor General’s request to present the facts saying that the case was called for the present order as submission of facts related to the investigation has already been completed.

The Deputy Solicitor General, who asked for forgiveness from the court, stated that on the evening of the 16th, the Criminal Investigation Department has asked him to appear for the case and submit facts.

The Magistrate who said that it is appropriate to inquire into the opinion of whether the death of the director of the Janashakthi Group of Companies, Dinesh Schafter was a murder or a suicide from a committee of Judicial Medical Officers and Forensic Medical Officer taking into consideration reports received from the Government Analyst, Judicial Medical reports, post-mortem examination reports, DNA reports, reports of SOCO officers, Case Exhibits Analysis reports, and telephone reports said further that she will be appointing five medical officers and that the panel will comprise of both Judicial Medical Officers and Forensic Medical Officers.

Magistrate Jayasuriya who said that she will be appointing medical officers to the panel based on seniority, ordered the Director General of Health to submit immediately to her, a list of names of the senior most judicial medical officers engaged in duty at present.

She also issued an order to the Chairman of the University Grants Commission to submit soon to the court a list of names of Senior Professors from university faculties.

The Magistrate ordered the Murders and Organized Crimes Investigation Unit of the Criminal Investigation Department to present to the court the relevant orders within a period of two weeks.

The Criminal Investigation Department had informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya on 14 February that in the report issued by the Government Analyst regarding DNA samples of the deceased, it had been stated that there was an alien DNA Bio sample in addition to bio samples found and the DNA tests carried out on case exhibits discovered at the place of the murder.

The Criminal Investigation Department had informed the Court that this alien bio sample had been found on the bottle of water used by the deceased, the cable wire used to strangle the deceased, and on the zip tie used to bind the hands of the deceased.

They also told the Court that the Government Analyst had issued an order to summon to his office for carrying out DNA tests, any individuals or suspects who had gone to the place where the death occurred.

In addition, giving evidence at the coroner’s inspection, the Criminal Investigation Department had said that since the Director of the Janashakthi Group of Companies Dinesh Schafter had consumed cyanide with food, based on the report, his death is a suicide. 

Saturday, February 18, 2023 – 01:25











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