Court of Appeal of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: A Division Bench of K.K. Wickremasinghe and K. Priyantha Fernando, JJ., dismissed an appeal filed aggrieved by the judgment of High Court which convicted the three appellants for the count of murder punishable under Section 296 to be read with Section 32 of the Penal Code, sentencing them to death and the fourth appellant was convicted for a lesser offence punishable under Section 314 of the Penal Code. The appellants contended that prosecution had failed to prove the charge against the 1st Appellant beyond a reasonable doubt, there appears a conflict of evidence between the witnesses; evidence led at the trial negates common murderous intention on the part of 2nd and 3rd appellant and thus imputation of vicarious liability was legally and factually flawed.
The deceased was a police officer. His wife was a school teacher and the deceased and the wife were living in the teacher’s quarters inside the school premises. The witness stated that when she had gone for band practices she saw the 2nd and 3rd appellant had gone to the quarters that the deceased was living and had tapped on the door and then they were seen fighting and then the deceased went inside and the appellants moved towards the road. After a while the deceased had come out of the house, dressed in his police uniform and had gone towards the road, then the 2nd and 3rd Appellants and the 4th Accused carrying poles had come towards the deceased and had assaulted him. Another witness had told that the 1st Appellant had stabbed the deceased.
The Court while dismissing the appeal held that the Trial Judge had considered all the evidence adduced at the trial, analyzed the same and rightly decided that the 1st Appellant stabbed the deceased that caused his death, there was no evidence of the 1st Appellant using his right of self-defence, at the trial and there was found no conflict between the evidence of the witnesses that would affect their credibility. Lastly, as per the established facts, the intention was clear that it was to kill the deceased when that injury was caused. There were 10 more injuries observed by the Medical Officer who conducted the autopsy on the body of the deceased, thus the High Court has rightly come to the correct conclusion that the prosecution has proved the charge of murder against the 1st, 2nd and 3rd Appellants beyond a reasonable doubt. [Maduwanage Francis Wimalaratne v. Attorney General, Court of Appeal Case No. HCC 226-227 of 2012, decided on 17-01-2020]