All Sinhala jury acquits Mylanthanai accused

[TamilNet, Monday, 25 November 2002, 16:29 GMT]
All the eighteen accused in the Mylanthanai massacre case were acquitted by the High Court Judge Mr.S.Sriskandarajah when the Sinhalese speaking Jury brought a unanimous verdict of not guilty Monday around eight thirty p.m. In this case the Attorney General had indicted eighteen Sinhala soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army with the murder of thirty-five Tamil civilians including fourteen children in the Mylanthanai village in Batticaloa district on August 9 1992.

The High Court Judge Mr.Sriskandarajah concluded his charge to the Sinhala speaking Jury Monday afternoon around 1 p.m. Thereafter the Sinhala speaking Jury retired for deliberation. After about three hours the Jury returned and delivered its verdict. The Foreman of the Jury submitted to HC Judge that they were unanimous in their verdict that all the eighteen accused were found not guilty.

At that stage the HC Judge told the Jury that he was not satisfied with their verdict . The HC Judge asked the Jury to retire once again and conduct fresh deliberation.

The Jury then retired for second time and brought the same verdict of not guilty after about an hour deliberation among them.

Hence the HC Judge acquitted all the eighteen accused.

The court sat till around 8.30 p.m. Monday to get the Jury's verdict

President Counsel Mr.Daya Perera appeared for the accused. With the State Counsel Vijitha Malagoda appeared for the prosecution. Attorney-at-Law Mr.K.S.Ratnavelu with Attorney-at-Law Mr.S.Shanmugalingam watched the interests of the deceased.

The massacre took place in the Mylanthanai village in the Batticaloa on the day when Major General Densil Hobbekaduwa and seven other senior military commanders died in a landmine attack in Jaffna district.

The Colombo High Court Judge with a Sinhala speaking Jury heard the case since October 2 daily excluding weekend and public holidays. The State Counsel addressed the Jury for three days and the Defense Counsel took four days. Thereafter the HC Judge commenced his charge to the Jury on October 18 and concluded today.

Earlier this case was listed for hearing in the Eastern High Court holden at Batticaloa. When the case was taken up for inquiry at Batticaloa the defense made an application that the case should be transferred to Colombo as the security of the accused was at stake. Hence the Attorney General transferred this case to the Colombo High Court. When the case was taken for inquiry in the Colombo High Court, the Judge allowed an application made on the first date of inquiry on behalf of the accused that the case should be tried before a Sinhala speaking Jury.

 

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