By S.S. Selvanayagam
The Court of Appeal yesterday (24) fixed for support on 3 March the appeal filed by Appellant Sasikala Raviraj, the wife of slain TNA MP Nadarajah Raviraj, against the order of the Colombo High Court in her husband’s murder case.
The bench comprised Justices Deepali Wijesundera and Lalith Jayasuriya.
The judges on 19 January dismissed the appeal because the aggrieved party Sasikala Raviraj and her lawyers were not present in court when the case was taken up.
Counsel Anuja Premaratne appeared for two of the accused – Chandana Kumara and Gamini Seneviratne who are cited as respondents in Sasikala Raviraj’s appeal of the High Court verdict.
Attorney at Law Premaratne argued that the case should be dismissed since the application for appeal had not been supported since the appellant and her lawyers were absent in court.
Lawyers for the Raviraj family filed a motion in the Court of Appeal, requesting that the appeal be relisted for support once the case record from the High Court was tendered to court.
Attorney-at-Law Moahan Balendra, appearing for Sasikala Raviraj, filed the motion petitioning the court to relist the matter and moved to support this application on 24, 25 or 26 January.
Nadarajah Raviraj was an elected MP of the Jaffna District representing the TNA when he was assassinated on 10 November 2006.
Sasikala Raviraj stated that when the case was taken up prior to the trial, the Counsel for the second to fourth accused made an application for the trial to feature a Sinhala-speaking jury.
She asserted that the indictment in the instant case included charges relating to offences specified in the Prevention of Terrorism Act and that the counsel for the aggrieved party objected to the said application. She also stated that her counsel objected to a jury trial on her instructions.
She added that it was the procedure specified by the PTA which would override any other procedure stipulated by the regular Criminal Code. In this case, that requires a trial by a judge without a jury as specified in the PTA.
Despite these objections, the High Court judge delivered an order on 27 October 2016 overruling Sasikala Raviraj’s objections and allowed a trial by a special jury.
After the jury’s deliberations on 24 December 2016, a verdict of not guilty was returned on all charges faced by the accused.
Sasikala Raviraj contended that the evidence presented against all the suspects at the trial was sufficient to find them guilty of all the offences that they were being accused of.
In her appeal she asked court to find the accused guilty of all charges and order a retrial of the accused for all or several of the offences.
In her appeal, Sasikala Raviraj cited Palani Sami Suresh, Chandana Kumara, Gamini Seneviratne, Pradeep Chaminda, Sivakanthan Vivekananthan and Fabian Roiston Tusen as Accused-Respondents as well as the Attorney General.
The appellant in her appeal, filed by Moahan Balendra, cited Palani Sami Suresh, Chandana Kumara, Gamini Seneviratne, Pradeep Chaminda, Sivakanthan Vivekananthan and Fabian Roiston Tusen as Accused-Respondents as well as the Attorney General.
M.A. Sumanthiran with Niran Anketell, instructed by Moahan Balendra, appeared for Sasikala Raviraj. Deputy Solicitor Rohantha Abeysuriya appeared for the Attorney General.