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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 High Court.

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 interview.

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. Suneetha Nanayakkara.

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.

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