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SEVEN TO HANG FOR VIDYA MURDER

The convicts taken to prison. Pictures by Sulochana Gamage

THREE JUDGE Trial-at-Bar UNANIMOUS IN verdict

Rs.1 million COMPENSATION each to Vidya’s mother

JUDGES COMMEND CID’s efficiency

Seven accused including Mahalingam Shashikumar alias Swiss Kumar were convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of Sivaloganathan Vidya of Punguduthivu in 2015 by the Trial- at-Bar of the Jaffna High Court yesterday.

Nine suspects, Poobalasingham Indrakumar alias Sinnappa, Poobalasingham Jeyakumar alias Ravi, Poobalasingham Navakumar alias Sendil, Mahalingam Shashidaren alias Shashi, Pillainandan Chandrakasan alias Chandra, Shivaderan Kushange alias Periyathamby, Palani Rubasingham Kuganathan alias Nishanthan, Jeyadaran Kokilan alias Kanna and Mahalingam Shashikumar alias Swiss Kumar were accused of abduction, rape and murder of Sivaloganathan Vidya in Punguduthivu in 2015.

The first and the seventh accused, Poobalasingham Indrakumar alias Sinnappa and Palani Rubasingham Kuganathan alias Nishanthan were released due to lack of adequate evidence to prove their involvement in the murder.

The Trial-at-Bar headed by Vavuniya High Court Judge Balendren Sashi Mahendran included Jaffna High Court Judge Illancheliyan Manicckavasagar and Trincomalee High Court Judge Annalingam Premashankar.

The second, third, fifth, sixth and eighth accused were sentenced to 30 years rigorous imprisonment (RI), with a fine of Rs 40,000 each. They were also ordered to pay a compensation of Rs.1 million each to the mother of the victim. The court also ordered to extend their prison term by four months if they fail to pay the fine. These convicts will also have to serve another two years if they fail to pay the compensation.

The fourth and the ninth accused were sentenced to 30 years imprisonment, each with a fine of Rs 70,000.They were also ordered the payment of Rs 1 million each in compensation to Vidya’s parents. Failing to pay the fine, the accused will be further remanded for four months and if they fail to pay the compensation, they will be remanded for another two years. The security around the Jaffna High Court was tightened with Police Special Tak Force personnel being deployed in the area. The accused arrived at the court around 8.45 AM and the trial began at 10. 00 AM yesterday. The court complex was filled to capacity before the trail began. The crowds were waiting in anticipation of the much awaited verdict in the case that shocked the nation and triggered protests in the North.

Judge Illancheliyan Manicckavasagar delivering the verdict emphasized that neither the army nor navy was involved in the abduction, rape or murder of Vidya, as alleged by accused and the defense counsel.

“If the navy or army was involved there should be evidence in that connection, but we have got nothing.The CID could only find evidence that were connected to the seven accused and that clearly shows that they carried out the rape and murder”, the Judge said.

Judge Illancheliyan claimed that the former Inspector of Police, Kayts who prosecuted, delayed the case and as a result the CID found it hard to find adequate evidence against the accused. Meanwhile, the CID came in for high praise for their efforts in investigating the case speedily and efficiently.

Jaffna High Court Judge Illancheliyan commended the CID officers present in Court, IP Nishantha Silva, ASP Sisira Tissera and their team for their efforts in probing the murder of the rape and murder of the school girl in Jaffna.


DEFENCE TO APPEAL

Defence Counsel Mahinda Jayawardena said he will appeal the judgement and added that he does not see this as the final judgement.

“Sri Lankan law was abducted, raped and murdered today”, he said speaking to the media yesterday after the final verdict was given by the Jaffna High Court.


MOTHER relieved

Vidya’s mother Saraswathy speaking to the media said that she was very complacent about the verdict that was given by the judges and thanked all the people who fought for justice in Vidya’s case.