The verdict was delivered by the Appeals Court judge-bench consisting of Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and R. Gurusinghe.
The appeals filed by Premalal Jayasekara, former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council member Nilantha Jayakody, and former Kahawatta Pradeshiya Sabha chairman Vajira Darshana, against the death sentences handed to them by the Ratnapura High Court, were taken up before the said bench this morning.
Delivering the verdict, Appeals Court Judge Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne said there is no evidence of the three accused being in possession of firearms at the time of the incident and them firing shots.
Thereby, the charges laid against them have not been proved beyond a reasonable doubt before the Ratnapura High Court, he added.
The fatal shooting in question took place on the morning of January 05, 2015 and resulted in the death of a political supporter who was decorating an election stage for the then-common candidate of the presidential election Maithripala Sirisena at Kahawatte. The victim was hospitalized following the shooting, had later succumbed to injuries.
The Pelmadulla Magistrate had later issued arrest warrants on the suspects involved.
Former Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara, former Sabaragamuwa PC member Nilantha Jayakody and former Kahawatta PS chairman Vajira Darshana were arrested in January 2015 over the election-related shooting incident. Jayasekara was later released on bail in December that year.
In July, 2020, Jayasekara and the other two accused were sentenced to death over the fatal shooting incident. The verdict in the case had been delivered by the Ratnapura High Court. – ada derana