SL CoA | School principal acquitted of bribery allegations; benefit of doubt due to lack of evidence

Court of Appeal of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka: The Division Bench of Devika Abeyratne and P. Kumararatnam, JJ. aquited the principal of the Mahanama Navodaya School in Panadura who was originally convicted in a matter related to the Bribery Act.

In the instant case, the commission had to investigate allegations of bribery and corruption on the basis of the understanding that on November 16, 2008 the appellant being in the capacity of a school principle, accepted a gratification of Rs. 25,000 in lieu of a promise to admit one of the student in the school for the year 2009. It was also further acknowledged by the commission that the accepting of the stated gratification is an offence under Section 19 (b) and 19 (C) of the Bribery Act.

The Counsel for the Appellant among the other grounds of appeal argued and, vehemently contended that the prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt. He submitted that the date, place or time of solicitation has not been proved and that the learned trial judge has failed to consider these important points.

Based on the arguments of both the parties, the Court of Appeal was of the opinion that there was no solid ground or contention that could be established against the appellant especially when the allegations were of such serious nature.[Thelge Nadeeka Kaumadi Peiris v. Bribery Commissioner, 2021 SCC OnLine SL CA 1, decided on 17-12-2021]

Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.

Advocate for Appellant

Eraj De Silva with Hafeel Fariz, Janagam

Sundaramoorthy and Daminda Wijesuriya

Advocates for the respondent

Subashini Siriwardena with Anusha


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