28 May 2011/ By K. S. Fernando.
Panadura Police sought to withdraw charges against eleven suspects including a Panadura Pradeshiya Sabha UNP member following objections raised by the counsel on behalf of the suspects. The request for withdrawal was subject to the right to file a fresh plaint in due course.
The suspects were charged before the Panadura Magistrate for picketing near the Panadura clock tower last year, against the alleged illegal detention of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka.
Counsel Kavisinghe, appearing on behalf of the suspects, challenged the validity of the charge sheet and queried as to the statutory provision under which the suspects were indicted. It was submitted that the charge sheets were bad in law. .
Following the submission, the Magistrate examined the charge sheets and found that the charges were not in conformity with the law and observed that the charges framed by the Police were flawed. The counsel on behalf of the suspects further contended that the ASP of Panadura does not have a proper understanding of the Criminal Procedure Code. He submitted that it is a right guaranteed by the Constitution for a citizen to engage in peaceful protests.
The suspects Vijith Priyantha de Silva, Rohana Soysa, Thahir Fazie, Ranith Soysa Anura Ajith, Wilmon Fernando, Lal Fonseka, M. Akthar. Jagath Pushpakumara were present before court when the matter was taken up for inquiry. The Magistrate issued arrest warrants on two suspects, K .Gamini and M. Abeysekera, who had absconded court.