The Keith Noyahr assault and abduction case was heard in the High Court of Colombo on 10th 12th and 14th of June to determine whether the Army Intelligence officers presently in remand should be bailed out. The Army Intelligence officers including Major Bulathwatte were arrested and remanded into the abduction and assault of Keith Noyahr, the deputy editor of the Nation newspaper. The investigation into this crime like with the attacks and murder of journalists during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime were resumed in all seriousness after his fall in 2015.
The CID which commenced investigations were able to zero in on the team that carried out such attacks and arrested Major Bulathwatte and the others after painstaking leg work. These officers were granted bail in the Magistrate’s Court but the CID appealed to the High Court which over ruled the Magistrate’s order. In the continuing hearings in the High Court Attorney at Law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya appeared in favour of the Army Intelligence officers. Attorney at Law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya PC made an application for bail on the basis that Keith Noyahr had given an interview to Sri Lanka Guardian which was also carried in Sath Handa, that those in remand were NOT (emphasis by Colombo Telegraph) responsible for the abduction and attack on him. The High Court requested the CID to verify this news report from Keith Noyahr and report to court. Colombo Telegraph understands through reliable sources that Keith Noyahr was shocked beyond belief that such a false news item had been carried not only in Sri Lanka Guardian which at best could have been ignored purely on it’s record of carrying trumped up news, but that it was also carried in Sath Handa, a newspaper widely known to be run by Minister Duminda Dissanayake, the right hand man of President Maithripala Sirisena. Colombo Telegraph also learns that this erroneous news item was a deliberate plant by interested parties to be used in the High Court to seek bail for the Army Intelligence officers now in remand.
On another interesting aside Colombo Telegraph learns that Attorney at Law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya, now appearing for the officers in remand had on an earlier occasion volunteered to appear pro bono on behalf of the family of late Lasantha Wickrematunge, even going to the extent of saying he knew who slew Lasantha. Colombo Telegraph learns that Attorney Warnakulasuriya had spoken to the brother of late Lasantha Wickrematunge, Lal and then to the second wife of the late editor Sonali, and thereafter to the first wife Raine, seeking a proxy nominating him to appear on behalf of the family on the basis that he would help not only with the investigation but prosecute successfully in court the culprits behind the murder of the late Editor. While stating that he knew who killed Lasantha Wickrematunge, yet not volunteering such information till such proxy form was signed and assigned, had drawn the suspicions of the family who brushed off this offer.
Colombo Telegraph learns that Colombo based lawyers were not surprised that Attorney at Law Hemantha Warnakulasuriya has now done a 180 degree turn in appearing on behalf of the accused Army Intelligence officers, who also are suspected of being behind the murder of late Lasantha Wickrematunge according to reported facts to court by the CID.