Saturday, September 25, 2010

Hokandara Murder Case - Summary

Following are extracts about the Hokandara Murder case discussed in the Law lecture,

Here is a summary of the events
1999 February 10 - Mass Murder takes place
1999 June 29 - Court starts trials
2000 November 17 - Death sentence given

its pretty interesting to notice the words we learnt being used in the paper articles.

Hokandara trial: June 29 - On Sunday Times 20th June 1999

The trial-at-bar in the Hokandara murder case which shocked the country will begin on June 29, with the fourth accused still absconding, an official of the Attorney General Department said yesterday.
Twenty-four charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder, rape and robbery, have been filed against the four accused in the case involving the massacre of a family of six, State Counsel Sarath Jayamanne said.
With no witnesses coming forward, the accused were identified by DNA testing of blood samples found at the site. This was the first time this modern process was used in Sri Lanka for a criminal investigation.
The bench will comprise High Court Judges Raja Fernando, Gamini Amaratunga and Gamini Abeyratne.

SC affirms death sentence - Daily News 22nd Nov 2004

by Wasantha Ramanayake

The Bench of five Supreme Court Judges dismissing the appeal in the Hokandara Murder Case affirmed the conviction and the sentence imposed on the four accused-appellants by the Trial-at- Bar.

The Trial-at-Bar convicted and were sentenced to death three accused-appellant in connection with the murder of the five members of the same family in Hokandara on February 10, 1999. They were acquitted of the murder charge in connection with the sixth member, the son of the family.

The Special Bench comprised Justices Dr. (Mrs.) Shirani A. Bandaranayake, H. S. Yapa, T. B. Weerasuriya, Nihal Jayasinghe and N. K. Udalagama.

The delivering unanimous Judgment agreed by the rest of the Bench, Justice Dr. Badaranayake observed that the sentence with respect to the fourth accused-appellant could not be mitigated due to the serious nature of the crime.

She observed," fourth respondent in my view was involved in the commission of the offence which was of a serious nature and I don't see any reason for mitigation of his sentence."

According to the judgement the fourth appellant found guilty and was convicted for committing the offence of gang rape. The first accused appellant was an employee of the father of the fourth accused-appellant.

The court observed that fourth accused could have prevented the rape by the accused if he was so desired considering his master-servant relationship with the first accused-appellant.

She further observed that "the fourth respondents supportive presence undoubtedly amounted to intentional aiding and in such circumstances he could not be treated as person who was only an innocent observer of the incident of sexual abuse on a hapless victim, although he was a first offender".

The counsel contended that his client could not be convicted of the charge of gang rape since there had been evidence to support neither he committed the offence nor aided and abetted it. He further submitted that the mere presence would not be a reason to convict him for an uncommitted offence.

He contended that the court in case of the dismissal of the appeal should mitigate the sentence since the fourth accused-appellant had been 17 years old, his education had been ruined he had no previous convictions. He contended that it was inappropriate to impose the maximum sentence prescribed by law for a first offender.

Accused-appellants H. E. Menaka Sanjeewa, K. J. S. Sri Nandana, S. A. Mahinda Siriwardane and H. P. Gayan Suranga cited the Attorney General as the respondent.

They appealed against the conviction and the death sentence by the Trial-at-Bar dated November 17, 2000. 1-3 accused were found guilty of committing the murders on six persons of the same family i.e. the farther, mother, three daughters and the son on February 10, 1999 and were further sentenced to total of 30 years RI on the counts of robbery and gang rape. The fourth accused were sentenced to 20 years RI on the charge of gang rape.

Shyamal Collure appeared for the first accused. Barana Perera with Prabha Perera appeared for the second and third accused. Rienzie Arseculeratne PC appeared for the forth respondent.

Solicitor General C. R. de Silva PC, Senior State Counsel Sarath Jayamanna and State Counsel Ms Harippriya Jaysundara appeared for the Attorney General.

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