split-up going ahead
The process of restructuring the CEB is expected to be
completed by the middle of next year with the assistance of foreign
experts who will also study areas such as financial management and
which got underway a few months back is currently updating equipment
at several power stations.
Chairman S Zubair told The Sunday Times that a team of Canadian
consultants are helping in the restructuring. As a first step in
the restructuring process the generation, transmission and distribution
of power would be handled by separate companies set up under the
Companies Act as set out in the Electricity Reforms Bill.
off the hook
Presidential Media Advisor and film star Sanath Gunatillaka was
acquitted last Friday of all charges in connection with the attack
on the residence of film actress Anoja Weerasinghe in Moneragala
last year. This controversial case where Mr. Gunatillaka and five
others had been charged was taken up in the Moneragala Magistrate's
Court. The six suspects were acquitted by Moneragala Magistrate
Mrs. A.L.N. Maumuna after State Counsel said that evidence against
them was insufficient to prove their involvement in the attack.
who were acquitted were B.A. Ranjith, T.H. Chamal Indunil, J. B.A.
Priyantha Kamal, Nalin Prabhath and M.G. Thushan Kumara.
This case was filed by the CID on charges that the residence belonging
to Mrs. Anoja Weerasinghe at Indikula in Moneragala was set on fire
on January 3, 2001 by Mr. Sanath Gunatillaka and his supporters.
bail appeal hearing
for convicts cite special circumstances
By Laila Nasry
The revision application for bail pending appeal
filed on behalf of the two former Air Force officers convicted in
the Iqbal Athas case was taken up for inquiry before the Court of
Appeal on Friday.
The Bench comprising
Justices Raja Fernando and G.W. Edirisuriya heard the two revision
applications filed on behalf of Rukman Herath and Sujeewa Kannangara
who were convicted in the High Court for criminal intimidation and
trespass into the home of The Sunday Times Consultant Editor Iqbal
Abeysuriya PC, counsel for Sujeewa Kannangara making his submissions
for the granting of bail stated that there is a long delay in listing
cases for appeal in the Court of Appeal, which will result in his
client being kept in remand. In view of this fact he urged court
to consider it as an exceptional circumstance warranting his client
being enlarged on bail.
submitted, referring to the Jayanthi Silva case, that the main consideration
for the granting of bail pending appeal should be whether the accused
appellant would come before court and serve the sentence meted out
in case his appeal fails. He stated that as his client was a Squadron
Leader and a person coming from a respectable family who had attended
court regularly during the trial, there was no reason to suspect
that his client will fail to appear before court in the event of
his appeal failing.
also drew the attention of court to the fact that the prosecution
case at the trial was weak. He stated there was a high possibility
of the case succeeding in the Court of Appeal. In support he stated
that the intruders had entered Mr. Athas' house and asked ko badu
? Upon realising that they had come to the wrong place the intruders
submitted that the case in the High Court depended on the identification
of both suspects and it was urged in the High Court that the photographs
of the two accused had been shown to the witnesses and thereby the
identification parade was not satisfactorily held.
He also urged
that the cumulative sentence of nine years rigorous imprisonment
for the offences of house trespass and criminal intimidation were
excessive and there is a possibility of it being reduced by the
Court of Appeal, on the case coming up for appeal.
Marapone, PC, counsel for Rukman Herath in his submissions, in addition
to what Mr. Abeysuriya stated, urged court to consider the fact
that the right to appeal in the Court of Appeal should also be construed
as a right to be enlarged on bail.
that the identity of the suspects were in question in that in the
first statement made to the Mirihana Police, the description of
the suspects were not given by the witnesses, and this in turn cast
a reasonable doubt in the prosecution case.
urged court to consider the mental state of the wife of his client
who had suffered a miscarriage as a result of the conviction and
the child who was observed as having abnormal behaviour in school
due to the father's absence from home, as reasons for the granting
of bail. Making submission to court in reply, Senior State Counsel
P.P. Surasena stated that the delay in listing cases in the Court
of Appeal is common to all cases and not special to this particular
case. Thus if court were to treat this case as a special circumstance
warranting bail, it would be a precedent that will have to be extended
to future cases.
the argument adduced by bringing in the Jayanthi Silva case, he
stated that whether an accused appellant will come before court
to take his sentence in the event of his appeal failing would depend
on the length of the sentence. He stated that if the sentence is
higher then the temptation to abscond is greater.
point raised by Mr. Abeysuriya that the intruders were mistaken
in entering Mr. Athas' residence he said the evidence of the domestic
aide Subramaniam revealed that the intruders had asked the domestic
as to whether Mr. Athas was at home and when questioned as to why
they inquired had replied they wished to get an article published
in the newspaper. Mr. Surasena submitted that the subsequent question
of ko badu was merely to mislead the investigation.
made by the Senior State Counsel were not concluded and will be
resumed on November 15 (Friday).