Three discharged in the Sri J'Pura Student murder case
ADDITIONAL District Judge and Chief Magistrate for Gangodawila
Padmini Ranawaka Gunathilaka discharged three suspects in the Sri
Jyawardena Pura University student murder case and ordered the first
suspect Chanaka Mahesh Kumara Hewagama, to stand trial in the Colombo
Magistrate ordered that the second, third and fourth suspects be
discharged as the prosecution had failed to establish sufficient
evidence to commit them to stand trial in the High court.
Main witness for the prosecution Ven. Julampitiye Mangala Thera the
student leader and Secretary of the Students' Union of the Sri
Jayawardenapura University when cross examined by Senior Consul for
second suspect Hemantha Warnakulasooriya established the fact that he
had immediately after the incident given a press and TV interview to the
effect that certain thugs hired by a politician committed the murder and
escaped in a van, which was completely different to the story narrated
by him in the court.
The witness admitted having given a press and TV interview but said
that he had now forgotten what he had said and the contents of the
The evidence of the other two witnesses had major infirmities and was
replete with major contradictions which went to the root of the case and
the positions taken by each witness was different to the other.
The Mirihana police, who inquired into the matter, had recorded the
statement of the Vice Chancellor and other academics, who had stated to
the police that a few months prior to this incident, a student named
'Samantha' was murdered by some students and the four suspects had been
in the forefront of the students' struggle and were known as students'
group opposed to ragging in the Universities.
After the death of Samantha at the hands of some students of the main
union, these suspects with many other students had formed themselves
into a group, called the 'Samantha Padanama', which had many
confrontations with the Students' Union.
These students for their own safety had to stay away from the
lectures but on the June 26, 2004 they had entered the University
premises to attend special classes conducted by the University.
There, the other students had been abusive and threatened these
suspects with bodily harm. This led to an altercation and the student A.
M. Sampath Wimalatissa Bandara died as a consequence of a stab injury he
sustained during this brawl.
The prosecution called three students as witnesses and Quintus
Raymond ASP gave evidence and the case was concluded.
Daya Perera P.C. with Sampath Mendis and Rasika Weerasooriya appeared
for the 1st, 2nd and the 3rd suspects on instructions of Mrs. Ms.
Hemantha Warnakulasooriya, with Mrs. Vijitha Wickramasekera, Prasad
Dasanayake and Waruna Dissanayke appeared for the second suspect
instructed by Mr. Suneetha Nanayakkara.
Damayanthi Amerasinghe and Mihiri Gunasinghe from the
Attorney-General's Department led the Prosecution.