Ruling Party MPs Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayathilake, former Provincial Council Member Amal Silva and Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia Urban Council worker Subhash Fernando, who were arrested in alleged connection to the brutal assault launched on the peaceful protests held in front of Temple Trees and Galleface, Colombo on May 09 were remanded till May 25, as per the order of Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage.
This was when the suspects were produced before the Court today (18).
In consideration of the facts, evidence and statements collected from all the parties, the Court denied the suspects’ bail application given the possibility of inciting public disturbance upon any granting of bail amidst the ongoing investigations and that the injured are still in medical care.
Considering the request for an appropriate order ensuring the security of MPs, the Magistrate directed the Commissioner General of Prisons to take appropriate measures regarding their safety and to ensure that they attend the Parliament sittings.
The prison officials were ordered to produce both former Provincial Council Member Silva and Worker of the Dehiwala – Mount Lavinia Council Fernando for an ID parade with masks on the next day. The Magistrate also noted that the Court observes that the suspects should act more responsibly as MPs.
Shavendra Fernando PC appearing for the suspects objected to the holding of an ID parade stating that despite the suspects being covered with masks their photographs were shown on the media, which would be ‘prejudicial’ to the suspects, thereby urging the Court to cancel the holding of an ID parade. Amal Silva’s name was mentioned by the CID publicly, Fernando PC noted.
Denying the request, the Magistrate asked him to elaborate it as the hearing continues further.
The Attorney General’s Department told the Court that it was identified that MPs Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayathilake instructed the rioters to ‘attack and kill’ (gahapiyaw, marapiyaw) several witnesses including Lahiru Chathuranga.
U.R. De Silva PC appearing for Nishantha told the Court that his client was attacked and that the ‘conduct’ of Lahiru Weerasekara who testified was ‘known by the entire country.’
In response, the Magistrate said, “Are there only two pieces of evidence? Lahiru Weerasekera has a number of such cases in this Court. Evidence, including circumstantial evidence against these people, must be presented.”
Rasik Faruq PC appearing for Jayathilake told the Court that every allegation against his client were false and that they had been to the protest ground to settle the matter. In the event that the suspects’ houses were destroyed in the aftermath of the event, this would be a bailable offense, he added.
Upul Jayasuriya PC appearing for the aggrieved party told the Court, “This is a case that gained the entire Sri Lanka’s attention. It will take time for the Criminal Investigation Department to conduct the probes. The meeting held at Temple Trees was held to conspire. Who gave them the rods? Is there any advance preparation? This is not an event causing a minor injury. They walked not to observe Pirith. Reasonable time should be given for the investigations. This is a non-bailable offense.”
Deputy Solicitor General Riyaz Fari told the Court, “Those injured are still being treated. They were not produced. Should they be released on bail, public disturbance may occur. I object to the granting of bail.”
In response, Silva PC said, “This would be false. I informed in writing. When we told them that we were ready to come, they said not to come and that an arrest ought to be made. The arrest was made based on a partial agreement.”