Bail granted to 14 arrested on Angulana property damage charges

Saturday, 18 July 2020 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Asiri Fernando

Fourteen persons charged with unruly behaviour and injuring public property at the Angulana Police Station on Wednesday were granted bail by the Moratuwa Magistrate’s Court yesterday. 

The Police arrested 14 people, including nine women, after local residents staged a protest against the Angulana Police, which later saw some pelleting the Police station and personnel with stones and other projectiles. According to the Police, the 14 were charged with unlawful assembly, causing injuries to a State officer and causing mischief. The Magistrate’s Court has bailed the 14 on two surety bonds of Rs. 100,000 each. The case will be heard on 23 July. 

The residents who staged the protest claim that members from the Angulana Police station arrived in the early hours of Wednesday morning at the residences of two eye witnesses in recent Police shooting related deaths, and took both witnesses away in a Police vehicle. Both witnesses were to appear before courts that morning. 

The two persons taken by the Police and later returned are eye witnesses to a Police shooting at a road block which resulted in the death of a fisherman from the area. Three policemen involved in the shooting have been interdicted on the orders of the Acting IGP. 

However, the family of the deceased and the residents of the area question why none of them have been produced before court up-to date. Meanwhile investigations into the shooting by Police in Angulana that resulted in the death of a fisherman has been handed over to the CID. 

Senior DIG (Western range) Deshabandu Tennakoon who visited the scene of the incident and spoke to the protestors conceded that the Police could have communicated their intensions to the families of the eye witnesses better and that better communication could have prevented the public unrest and subsequent protest. 

Legal experts told Daily FT that the Police taking two eye witnesses away in such a manner could amount to intimidation of witnesses. The Police Department has long been criticised by Human Rights activists and warned by the Judiciary regarding the treatment of witnesses, detainees, excessive use of force and custodial deaths. 

Responding to a question, Police spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne said that the CID will thoroughly investigate the shooting and that if the public was not satisfied with the process or the status of the ongoing investigation, they can lodge a complaint with the acting IGP, the Police Commission or with the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka regarding their grievances.