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SC asks for Presidential pardon document on Jayamaha

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Attorney General’s Dept agrees to submit document
Counsel says proper procedure not followed

The Supreme Court yesterday (30) ordered the Attorney General to present the document containing the decision taken by former President Maithripala Sirisena to grant a Presidential Pardon to Jude Shyamantha Jayamaha, who had been sentenced to death for the murder of 19-year-old Yvonne Johnson at Royal Park apartments.

This notice was given when a fundamental rights petition filed by a collective of women’s media organizations against the presidential pardon was called before the Bench of Supreme Court Judges S.Thureiraja, Yasantha Kodagoda and Janak de Silva. President’s Counsel Sanjeewa Jayawardena who appeared for the petitioner, presented facts and said that this accused had committed a cruel and disgusting murder that was known by the whole country and 64 fractures were recorded in the skull of the dead woman.

The President’s Counsel brought to the attention of the court that the former President had proceeded to grant the pardon without following the due procedure laid down by law and later made a public statement that there had been an exchange of money in that regard.

He pointed out that in terms of granting a presidential pardon, a report should be obtained from the Bench or the Judge who delivered the judgement and that report should be forwarded to the Attorney General to obtain another report from the Attorney General. The President’s Counsel pointed out that the normal procedure was to forward both reports to the Justice Minister to consider whether the convict could be pardoned, but this pardon was granted without following that procedure.

Court paid special attention to the dates and documents related to that procedure and it came to the attention of the Bench that the document stating the decision taken by the President to grant a presidential pardon to the convict was not in the relevant official file. The most important document in the case of the presidential pardon is the decision to grant the pardon, and Supreme Court Judge Justice Yasantha Kodagoda questioned the Additional Solicitor General who represented the Attorney General regarding the fact that it was not contained in the file.

The Additional Solicitor General stated that he would take action to file the document containing the presidential pardon decision. The panel of judges decided to conduct the hearing of the petition on June 9.

Jude Shyamantha Anthony Jayamaha was sentenced to 12 years of rigorous imprisonment by the Colombo High Court for killing 19-year-old Yvonne Johnson in Rajagiriya Royal Park housing complex in 2005.The Court of Appeal, which considered the appeal petitions filed by the convict and the Attorney General, gave its verdict in 2012 and decided to impose the death penalty instead of the prison sentence. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal filed against it and upheld the death sentence. Former President Maithripala Sirisena granted a special presidential pardon to Jayamaha.

This petition was filed requesting that it be ruled that the fundamental rights guaranteed by provision 12(1) of the Constitution have been violated by granting a presidential pardon to this convict. The Supreme Court decided earlier to hear these petitions and ordered the immigration officer not to allow Shyamantha Jayamaha to travel abroad without the permission of court.



Friday, March 31, 2023 – 01:00

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