Murder re-trial: Sentence reduced, three acquitted
In a re-trial of a murder case before Kandy High Court Judge D.S.Lekamwasam, the trial judge sentenced an accused to two years rigorous imprisonment and fined him Rs. 2,500 while acquitting the second, third and fourth accused.
In this case B.M.Karunatilleke Basnayake was the first accused, his brother B.M.Lionel Basnayake the second accused, his brother-in-law K.M.Wijekoon the third accused and a relative W.G.Chandraratne the fourth accused. They were indicted for causing the death of W. Seneviratne by attacking him with clubs on August 4, 1991 at Galapoda, Naula.
Karunatilleke pleaded guilty to the lesser count of culpable homicide under sudden provocation.
Counsel said the incident had taken place when, Karunatilleke, a police constable, had gone with his relatives to discuss his marriage with the parents of a girl, with whom he had a love affair. A fight had ensued at the tail end of the discussion and the girl's father had been fatally injured.
The couple had got married a day later.
It was submitted that Karunatilleke had two children - a daughter of 14 and a son of five.
State Counsel Vasantha Perera told Court he was prepared to accept a plea of the first accused and prepared to withdraw the indictments against the second, third and fourth accused.
Wijaya Wickramarante PC who appeared as Senior Counsel for all accused told Court that the present trial was in fact a re-trial ordered by the Court of Appeal.
At the previous trial which was held in the Kandy High Court the first accused was found guilty of culpable homicide and sentenced to ten years rigorous imprisonment.
Senior Counsel for the accused told Court that the accused had been on remand for three years out of the ten years, pending the appeal. At the conclusion of the previous trial the second, third and fourth accused were acquitted.
Counsel said that on a technical point the Court of Appeal had ordered a re-trial for all accused.