Gangodawila Magistrate Mrs Padmini Ranawak Gunathilaka while discharging three of the accused in the Sri Jayawardena Pura University student murder case, committed the first suspect Chanaka Mahesh Kumara Hewagama, to stand trail in the Colombo High Court.
At the inquiry into the murder of A.M. Sampath Wimalatissa Bandara, concluded on September 30, 2005, the Magistrate ordered that 2nd, 3rd and 4th accused, Devalochana Ajantha Ranasinghe, Ranil Lasantha Jayawardena and Lasantha Gamlath respectively be discharged as the prosecution had failed to establish sufficient evidence to commit them to stand trial in the High Court.
Senior Counsel for the 2nd suspect Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, cross examining the main witness for the prosecution, Julampitya Mangala thero, the student leader and secretary of the Students` Union of the Sri Jayawardena Pura University, established the fact that he had immediately after the incident given a press and a TV Interview to the effect that certain thugs hired by a politician committed the murder and had escaped in a white coloured van, which was completely different to the story narrated by him in Court.
In answer to the questions put to him by Counsel Warnakulasuriya, the witness admitted having given a press and TV interview but said that he had now forgotten what he had said and the contents of the interview. The evidence of the other two witnesses had major infirmities and was replete with major contradictions which went to the root of the case and the positions taken by each witness was different to the other.
The Mirihana police, who inquired into the matter, had recorded the statement of the Vice Chancellor and other academics. They had stated to the police that a few months prior to this incident, a student named `Samantha` was murdered by some students and the four suspects had been in the forefront of the students` struggle and were known as a students` group opposed to ragging in the Universities. After the death of Samantha at the hands some students of the main union, these suspects with many other students had formed themselves into a group, called the `Samantha Padanama`, which had many confrontations with the Students` Union. These students, for their own safety, had to stay away from the lectures but on the June 26, 2004 they had entered the University premises to attend special classes conducted by the University. There, the other students had been abusive and threatened these suspects with bodily harm. This led to an altercation and the student A. M. Sampath Wimalatissa Bandara died as a consequence of a stab injury he sustained during this brawl.
The prosecution called three students as witness and Mr Quintus Raymond ASP gave evidence and the case was concluded.
Mr. Daya Perera P.C. with Mr. Sampath Mendis and Rasika Weerasooriya appeared for the 1st, 2nd and the 3 rd Suspect on the instruction of Mrs. Suneetha Nanyakkara
Mr. Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, with Mrs. Vijitha Wickramasekera, Prasad Dasanayake and Waruna Dissanayake appeared for the Second Suspect instructed by Mr. Suneetha Nanayakkara
Ms Damayanthi Amerasinghe and Ms Mihiri Gunasinghe from the Attorney-General`s Department with the Mirihana Police appeared for the prosecution.