PANADURA: Panadura Provincial High Court Judge Malanee Gunaratne delivered a historic judgement when she imposed a sentence of 62 years Rigorous Imprisonment and a Rs. 90,000 fine on a private coach driver who pleaded guilty to 26 indictments including causing the death of 10 passengers and critical injuries to 16 passengers following a bus accident on the Galle Road, Panadura on August 17, 2002.
The Judge also ordered Dehiwala Liyanage Amarasiri of Elpitiya to pay a total sum of Rs. 1.1 million as compensation to the kith and kin of the 10 dead passengers and the injured.
The sentence is to run concurrently.
Amarasiri was indicted by the Attorney General with driving a private coach on a reckless and negligent manner and causing the death of 10 passengers and injury to 16 passengers who travelled in a Colombo bound private coach from Elpitiya on August 17, 2002.
Representing the Attorney General, Senior State Counsel Chamath Dileepa Peiris told Court that on August 17, 2002, Amarasiri was driving the private coach loaded with passengers and collided with an oncoming private coach transporting pilgrims to Kataragama.
The accident occured on the Galle Road, Nalluruwa killing 10 passengers and injuring over 20 passengers.
According to an eye witnesses, Amarasiri drove the private coach at a speed. He lost control when he was overtaking a lorry and collided with a private coach. Sarath Suriyaarachchi, Attorney at Law depending the accused said, private coach driver tried to avoid an accident.
The Judge said private coach drivers had became a death threat to passengers and pedestrians therefore they should be punished when they are found guilty of traffic offences.