SL SC | Defence of ‘grave and sudden provocation’ not available where provocation emanates from accused himself

Supreme Court of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Full Bench of Buwaneka Aluwihare, Prasanna Jayawardena and L.T.B. Dehideniya, JJ., dismissed an appeal filed by the appellant aggrieved by the punishment enhanced by the Court of Appeal.

The accused-appellant was indicted before the High Court for the offence of murder of one Henry Peter Vittachchi (deceased) punishable under Section 296 of the Penal Code. He had pleaded not guilty and thus the trial had commenced where the prosecution had led evidence of 5 witnesses, including a purported eye witness. Later the accused-appellant withdrew his earlier plea and pleaded guilty of the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder on the basis of ‘a sudden fight and provocation’. The Court had imposed a sentence of two years rigorous imprisonment which sentence was suspended for a period of 15 years with additional fine. Aggrieved by which an appeal was filed by the son of the deceased for imposing a punishment which was commensurate with the gravity of the offence. The Court of Appeal had set aside the sentence of the learned High Court Judge and imposed a sentence of 6 years rigorous imprisonment plus a fine. Thus the instant appeal was filed against the judgment of the Court of Appeal.

The Court while dismissing the appeal explained on the questions of law and found that no specific argument was put forward as to the illegality of the judgment and thus answered the questions of law in negative directing the High Court to implement the sentence imposed by the Court of Appeal. [Kathaluwa Weligamage Amararathne v. Thisantha Mahendra Vittachchi, 2019 SCC OnLine SL SC 16, decided on 17-07-2019]

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