SRI LANKA: Gerald Perera murder trial - a witness tells the court of how the murder was carried out
A report on the proceedings of the trial - second day
Hong Kong, August, 4, 2006
Today, August 4, Don Gayan Chandimal Amarakoon gave evidence before court stating that Sub-Inspector Suresh, the first accused in this case took him in his car on the morning of the shooting. One Pradeep (a police officer) and Ajith, the second accused, were inside the car when the witness was asked to get into the vehicle. The first accused brought the witness to Gampaha and dropped him at a place. He gave the witness a description of Gerald Perera (the torture victim who was killed) and told him that Gerald would arrive soon and when the witness saw him to make a telephone call to him (the first accused) on his mobile telephone.
The witness waited for Gerald Perera but he did not appear. After some time the first accused came back in his car and said "you have not seen him, he has already gone" and asked the witness to get into the car again. The car then proceeded in one direction and spotted Gerald Perera boarding a bus. Thereafter the first accused drove the car pursuing the bus and at one place when the bus stopped the car also stopped. The second accused got out of the car and boarded the bus. Later the bus proceeded and the first accused followed behind. After that the bus stopped again and the second accused returned and re-entered the car. They then started driving at high speed.
Inside the car the first accused said, "we have killed one person and now please keep your mouth shut on this issue." Later the first accused dropped him at a distance. The witness further said that later the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) came and took a statement from him and he has stated these matters to the SIU. He also had a SIM card of a telephone through which he had talked to the first accused during this time. He had given the SIM card to the SIU. The witness was cross examined on his previous statements.
The murder trial regarding the assassination of Gerald Perera, a torture victim who was shot on November 21, 2004 while traveling on a bus and succumbed to his injuries three days later, began on August 3. Gerald Perera was to give evidence in a High Court trial against several police officers regarding torture. The case was taken up at the Negombo High Court before S. Medawela, the judge of Chilaw High Court, who was assigned to hear this case.
In this case Makavitage Suresh Gunasena, a Sub Inspector of Police at the time of the alleged crime and Powatte Rubuduge Ajith Nishantha are accused of conspiracy to murder Gerald Perera and the second accused is charged with the further count of the murder of Gerald Perera.
The court fixed further dates for trial on September 1, 15 and 29, 2006.
The Deputy Solicitor General Vijith Malalgoda and Senior State Counsel Parinda Ranasinghe appeared for the prosecution. Mr. Srinath Perera-PC and Mr. Sanjeewa Weerawickrama Attorney-at-Law appeared to defend the interests of the aggrieved party. Mr. Tapan Bose, from the South Asia Forum for Human Rights and Samith de Silva, a former High Court judge, observed the trial on behalf of the Hong Kong-based Asian Human Rights Commission. Attorney-at-Law Anuja Pramarathne, appeared for the first accused and Attorney-at-Law Shanaka Ransinghe, for the second accused.