The Panadura Magistrate today declined to hear evidence against UNP MP Mangala Samaraweera based on media reports and said the Court would only be guided by the Police B report regarding the theft at the Parliamentarian’s residence last month.
The case of petty theft that has elicited significant media attention due to the sexual allegations and aspersions being cast on Samaraweera and the suspect that broke into his home came up before Panadura Magistrate’s Court.
President’s Counsel Hemantha Warnakulasuriya with a team of six lawyers appeared on behalf of the suspect Shiran Priyankara, accused of stealing a laptop and several bottles of whiskey from the home of the Parliamentarian in December. Reports are that Warnakulasuriya is being retained on behalf of the suspect by Sirasa director Nimal Cooke.
Lawyers for Samaraweera submitted to court that the Government was carrying out a smear campaign against the opposition MP long after the suspect made a confession to the police and was remanded on 2 January. “We submitted to court that at that point, the suspect was so short of money that he was unable to retain a lawyer. But then when the case was taken up again on 13 January, he had a top Government lawyer retained and his wife had submitted an affidavit with sexual allegations,” a lawyer for samaraweera said.
The lawyers for Samaraweera told court that the suspects lawyers were attempting to bring charges against the MP under Section 365A of the Penal Code for political mileage.
Panadura Magistrate Ruchira Weliwatte said court was only concerned with the theft at Samaraweera’s residence and added that any other complaints can be filed in different cases. The Magistrate said the Court was not interested in the allegations being made in the media.
The case will be taken up again on February 24 and lawyers for Samaraweera told court that Warnakulasuriya and others are unlikely to show up in court for the rest of the case since the magistrate had refused to indulge the sexual allegations.