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Tuesday, 7 December 2010

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Quack abortionist busted

After the last abortion case, where the main witness commenced raids, hardly three months had elapsed. There were petitions pouring to CID office from the general public. This time to be operated elsewhere and not at Kilda’s place, Kollupitiya.

When I tapped at A M Seneviratne’s door he invited me into his office, as a long-lost friend with a friendly grin, he told me:

“Your friend has come to limelight again I will fix him this time, right, royally he said and handed me a letter he had with him. OIC Unit 1 A M Seneviratne referred to as my friend was an accused in one of my earlier cases, who had performed an abortion on a 20-year old spinster who got pregnant by her own driver, and who subsequently committed suicide.

The quack suddenly left his place of business at Kollupitiya and went underground.

When this episode was told to me, I agreed to crack this case and my transfer out of the CID was deferred by another two months.

The quack in connection had opened a clinic at Sea Beach Rd, Negombo, and said to be performing abortions with the aid of a retired nurse and an attendant.

We traced the place. He was one Benette Perera from Dalugama. He had entered the Medical College in Colombo and had been a boarder at the college hostel ‘Bloemfontein’.

He had got through his MBBS, third year. After that there was no record of him in the Medical College. It was remoured that he had been assisting two professional doctors, a General Practitioner and a gynecologist for about four years.

Shelton Fernando was a very rich man, married, about 40 years of age and lived in Chilaw. He had a few shops in Gampaha, Madampe, Giriulla and Wennappuwa.

His main shop was at Chilaw and the Managing Director was a lady called Ruby Jansz. She was an unscrupulous woman who was in the habit of playing out money and scrutinizing at every possible turn.

Shelton never suspected Ruby. He used to sign blank cheques and hand over to Ruby to made payments having perfecting them.

Now at this place work, with Ruby was an 18 year-old-girl called Girlie. She was pretty and also helping with the accounts etc.

Ruby Jansz was also Shelton’s mistress and he thought the world of her. All that Ruby wanted was money.

Shelton was a womanizer; one day when Girlie was in and Ruby had gone out on an errand. He had sex with Girlie and Shelton told Girlie not to let Ruby know as to what had happened.

When Ruby came after about two hours – Girlie narrated her tale of woe to Ruby and she was furious imagining that this new affair will affect her financially.

Ruby hatched a plan. She told the girl not to speak about the incident to anyone and she will get it settled for her.

Time went by, and the affair of Girlie continued with Shelton and the girl became pregnant. She informed Shelton and Ruby about her pregnancy.

Shelton was very upset and thought of a way to get over it.

In the mean time Shelton Fernando had toured out that there is a gynecologist who performed illegal abortions in Negombo. He was Bennete Perera. On instructions from Shelton, Ruby brought Girlie to Negombo as per prior arrangements made by Shelton.

The girl was examined by Dr Perera who confirmed that Girlie was in an early stage of pregnancy and wanted the parties to come on a letter to abort the foetes.

He informed her that the charges will be a little over Rs 1000, which he could collect from Shelton.

Ruby took a blank cheque which had already been signed by Shelton Fernando, wrote the figure and gave to Dr Bennete. The doctor wrote out a list of items to be brought from a renowned pharmacy, when they came on the next appointed date.

Ruby went to Colombo and gave the list written by Bennete to the pharmacist having kept a photo-stat copy. The bill too was paid by cheque.

Subsequently, Ruby Jansz got a petition written by a known person, and posted it to Inspector General of Police giving all the particulars.

Ruby insisted that a sum of Rs 100,000 be given to Girlie. As compensation to which Shelton agreed and a cheque for this amount was given to her by Ruby with definite instruction to open a bank account in Girlie’s name.

On receipt of this petition Inspector A M Senarante took charge of inquiries arrested by untruly. I recorded the statement of Girlie in detail. She narrated the entire story and said how the abortion was performed and also stated that a Bank account was opened at her native place Madampe for Rs 100,000.

I recorded a statement of Ruby Jansz and she told everything in detail. She narrated as to how she came to the Pharmacy at Slave Island and brought the items recommended by doctor Benette. I also noted the cheque not given to the pharmacy by Ruby.

We proceeded to Bank of Ceylon Madampe Branch and got all particulars from them including the opening of a bank A/c for Rs 100,000 in Girlie’s name.

From there we proceeded to Slave Island pharmacy, met the very pharmacist who transacted business with Ruby recorded his statement, took charge of this original prescription given to Ruby by the abortionist, signed their relevant register maintained all the pharmacy requested them to preserve them carefully, in case if they are to be produced in Court.

We contacted Dr W D L Fernando JMO Colombo who undertook to examine Girlie on the coming Saturday morning at 9 am.

By arrangement, the girl was brought to Colombo and she was examined by Dr W D L Fernando who stated that crisis was mark of an abortion done between space of 15-30 days earlier and her crisis was found scratched and there was a slight burutant discharged.

Two days later, Inspector Seneviratne and I went to Negombo and met the abortionist at his dispensary. He was taken unaware.

We justified our sudden visit there and recorded his statement in detail having explained the allegations levelled against him. I showed him the prescription written by him.

He admitted that he wrote it and treated the girl for a vaginal problem and never ever performed an abortion on her.

He was produced in MC Negombo and he was arrested on a heavy bail of Rs 10,000 and later bailed out.

We sent our dossier to Attorney General for instruction and after a few weeks the file was returned back with instructions to file plaint against Bennete Perera for causing an abortion and Shelton Fernando for aiding and abbeting.

When the case came up for trial in Magistrate Court Negombo both accused pleaded not guilty and the case was specially fixed for trial for a Thursday afternoon.

Inspector R C Thevarajah was to conduct this case for the prosecution. He was an experienced investigator and an outstanding prosecutor who could stand up to any defence counsel.

Finally this case was taken up in Negombo Magistrate Court in camera.

The crowd was closed from the court house and the case resumed. The defence counsel informed the Magistrate that this was a fabricated case, to bring disrepute to a leading private practitioner and to an innocent man.

When the defence counsel sat down. Inspector R C Thevarajah got up and said sarcastically that the accused is not a qualified doctor, and we have a cast born case to prove the accused had only being a third year medical student and we have the prescription written by him to the dispensary at Slave Island, and with an impish smile he said that the second accused had given a cash cheque for Rs 100,000 to the girl for the sundry services rendered by her.

The defence counsel spoke to the first and the second accused for about ten minutes and informed the Judge that they had now decided to put in a plea of guilt in Mitigation.

The judge allowed this.

The first accused was fined Rs 500 and was bound overlook of good behaviour for a period of seven years and the second accused was bound over for a period of two years and fined Rs 500.

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