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Monday, October 2, 2023

DIG Vas Gunawardena case:First accused claims lawyers threatened him

Krishantha Koralage, the first accused in the murder of millionaire businessman, Mohamed Shyam, yesterday complained to Additional Magistrate, M.A. Sahabdeen that three attorneys-at-law visited his remand cell and threatened him. The alleged threats were issued after several suspects, including the first accused, decided that they did not need representation by the lawyers.

The accused Koralage told the Court that lawyers threatened him and said: “Did you swallow (ASP) Shani’s capsule? Let’s see later on.”

State Council, Wasantha Perera, appearing on behalf of the Attorney General said the accused had been threatened by three lawyers and not the police.
“When the accused say they do not need legal representation, I cannot allow the lawyers to appear for them,” Counsel Wasantha Perera told the Court.When the case was called for hearing, the other accused, former DIG Vass Gunawardena, Mohamed Fousideen, Indika Bamunusinghe (SI), Gamini Sarathchandra and Priyantha Kelum were also produced before the Magistrate.

ASP Shani Abeysekera of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), producing a detailed report, informed the Court that whereabouts of Ravindu, Vass Gunawardena’s son is still not known. ASP Abeysekera also informed the Court the police searched two houses – one in Galle and the other one in Mirihana for Ravindu, but no arrests were made.

He also informed that forensic investigations are being conducted on the firearm that was believed to have been used to commit the murder.

When the Magistrate inquired, first, fourth, fifth, sixth and the seventh accused informed the Court they did not seek legal representation.
On this instance, Counsels Ajith Pathirana and Anura Seneviratne told the Court that they merely advised the suspects through their juniors and did not threaten the suspects.
The Magistrate adjourned the case until 1 August and further remanded the seven suspects, including Vass Gunawardena, until the next Court date.

 Ishara Rathnayaka

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