30 May, 2023


Shani’s Bail Case Postponed Again After Court Of Appeal Judge Withdraws

Former CID Director SSP Shani Abeysekera will spend another three weeks in prison after a Judge of the Court of Appeal recused himself when his revision application came up for inquiry at the Court of Appeal on Wednesday (19).

Lawyers for Abeysekera, who has been imprisoned since July 2020, filed a revision application against the rejection of bail by the Gampaha High Court.

Shani Abeysekera

Abeysekera’s lawyers filed an urgent motion pleading with the court to take the former CID director’s case up for inquiry on an urgent basis despite the limited function of the courts due to the surge of Covid-19 cases in the country.

The case came up for inquiry in the Court of Appeal before Justices Bandula Karunaratna and P. Kumararatnam at 10AM on Wednesday. At this time, the court was informed that Justice P. Kumararatnam wished to recuse himself from hearing Abeysekera’s case.

With only one judge available to hear the inquiry, Abeysekera’s revision application could not be taken up.

Appearing for the Attorney General and the Colombo Crimes Division (CCD), Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysooriya said that the AG’s Department was still studying the matter.

Attorney at Law Viran Corea appearing as Counsel for Abeysekera urged the AG to act fairly since many dates had been given and agreed to by the petitioner for the filing objections, but to date no objections had been filed.

Since justice was being denied to Abeysekera because of the delays, lawyers for the former CID Director said he was making an application to court to prevent the AG from delaying matters further.

Shani Abeysekera was arguably Sri Lanka’s finest criminal investigator, sometimes referred to as Sri Lanka’s Sherlock Holmes, his lawyers told Court. Abeysekera’s investigations had led to successful convictions against several criminal masterminds, including an assassination attempt against a Head of State.

Lawyers for the jailed sleuth pointed out that the CCD was bringing a case of fabricated evidence against Abeysekera to help DIG Vaas Gunawardena to get his conviction overturned on appeal at the Supreme Court.

DIG Vaas Gunewardane was convicted and sentenced to death by a High Court Trial at Bar for the murder of Businessman Mohamed Shiyam in 2013. DIG Vaas Gunewardane who once led the CCD that is now investigating Abeysekera, was exposed for running a contract killing squad using officers from his division and even his own son. Details revealed at trial emerged that Vaas Gunewardane’s mercenary killing squad had earned Rs 10 million for the murder from Shiyam’s business rivals. Abeysekera and his men at the CID investigated the case, leading to a successful prosecution against the former top cop by the Attorney General.

After Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the presidency in November 2019, witnesses who had testified against Vaas Gunewardane at trial suddenly recanted their testimonies and filed complaints that then CID ASP Shani Abeysekera had coerced their statements to implicate DIG Vaas Gunewardane. Vaas Gunewardane was also found guilty of threatening Abeysekera and his detectives during the murder investigation and sentenced to five years RI by the Colombo High Court in 2018.

Counsel for Abeysekera told the Court of Appeal on Wednesday that what was happening to their client was an abuse of authority by criminal elements, and the former CID director was a victim. Abeysekera’s life was in grave danger because he had several health complications and was nearly 60 years old, his lawyers told Court. Medical reports had even laid bare that Abeysekera had suffered a heart attack because of the way he was handled in custody after he contracted Covid-19, the lawyers said. His compromised health makes the former CID Director vulnerable to infection in an overcrowded prison system, they argued.

Counsel Viran Corea urged the court to act, to protect the safety of Sri Lanka’s finest investigator who had been reduced to a helpless victim by a malicious design of criminals and enemies who were working in cohort.

The lawyers said he was objecting strongly to further delays in the matter and requested an early date for the case to be taken up for inquiry and order.

The case has been refixed for hearing on June 4, before Justices Bandula Karunaratne and Gurusinghe, even if courts continued to function only on a restricted basis. The Attorney General has been given a deadline of May 28 to file objections against the application made by Abeysekera’s lawyers. The Court has also called for a report on Abeysekera’s current medical condition, in view of the seriousness of the concerns for his safety.

Abeysekera is being denied access to his family and no one can verify his safety and well-being inside prison walls, his lawyers pleaded.

Viran Corea with Thilini Vidanagamage instructed by Gowry Shangari Thavarasha appeared for Abeysekara. Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysooriya with Deputy Solicitor General Shanil Kularatne appeared for the CID and AG.

Ironically several serving judges on the Court of Appeal are AG’s Department veterans and know of the integrity and meticulousness of Abeysekera’s work as a sleuth. After years of hunting criminals, Abeysekera and his family live in a 500 square foot flat in Elvitigala Mawatha. The former CID Director was fondly known by senior police officers as a straight-as-an-arrow detective. (By Chinthika De Silva)

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Latest comments

  • 28

    After the judges gave a four year rigorous punishment to an elected member of parliament for saying that judges were corrupt, I think no one can reasonably say that there is a just system of law in this country.

    We have only a system that provides jobs and perks for a few lawyers who call themselves judges ,but we have no fair play or justice in this country.

    That member of parliament had no right of appeal. The same guys who he attacked openly ,punished him !

    Shani Abeysekera respected this system, called them Sir and bowed to them.He worked all his life for the country. He was not corrupt( like that member of parliament)

    See where he is today.

    • 10

      Absolutely agree with you, Ms Silva.
      It’s a shocking state of affairs. And the intended addition of the De-Radicalization Regulations to the PTA will make things even worse.

    • 3

      I’m curious, Ms Silva, how did u come to the conclusion that I am using a pseudonym?
      And, then, that I am actually a “he”, of maybe even Brutal disposition?
      Manel Fonseka

  • 12

    Why is this SSP in jail? And, why is he not on bail? He didn’t kill anyone, did he?
    Even murderers attend Parliament.
    A former Minister who was fined for razing down 2388 acres of the Kal Aru forest reservation didn’t even pay the fine but attended Parliament.
    Even terrorists and those who aided and abetted terrorists attend Parliament.
    The Rajapaksas’ cousin and state minister who openly runs an illegal drug mafia attends Parliament.
    Then, there is a senior Minister who openly admits that he was fully aware that the Port City Bill violates the Constitution and therefore, through AG’s Department, they had suggested amendments to the Bill even before SC’s judgement. If there were no petitions, they could have easily had their way. See, how easy for these traitors in Parliament to betray their own country in favour of a foreign country?
    If all of the above serious criminals can attend the esteemed Parliament, why can’t the Courts release this SSP on bail? As far as I know, he hasn’t done any of the above-mentioned serious crimes committed by Parliamentarians.
    Today, I came to know that Chinese Ambassador had declared open a Chinese-funded electronic library at the Attorney General’s Department. How could that be? Don’t conflict of interest rules apply to the Attorney General’s Department?

    • 1

      Chimpi, what a two faced bi*ch you are. A while ago, anything the Rajapaksas did against the Tamils or any other minorities you sat there and crowed how righteous these Hambantota rascals were, now this extremely a good cop is thrown in jail and you are crying foul. If they can do this to this honest cop, just imagine what they will do to others.

  • 10

    Karma for those who believe in it or divine wrath for those who believe in that has been visited upon the whole nation for its apathy towards the evil of a vicious moron leading the nation.

  • 4

    Judge must know what’s good for him.

  • 12

    When the law is supposed to treat everyone equally, why is it that the Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal hear some people’s cases on a day-to-day basis with all judges in the panel appearing dutifully for daily hearings without fail while in the case of some people who have fallen out of favour with the powers that be, the dates for the court hearings are subject to lengthy postponements? I will tell you the basic reason for this – it is because the judges are corrupt and cowardly persons. Ranjan Ramanayake, poor soul, was damn right!

  • 4

    Absolutely agree with you, Ms Silva.
    It’s a shocking state of affairs. And the intended addition of the De-Radicalization Regulations to the PTA will make things even worse.

  • 5

    Truly shameful. He and Ranjan should be released ASAP or there might me a day of reckoning for these wrong doers.

  • 3

    An Additional Solicitor General and a Deputy Solicitor General appear in Court on behalf of the CID and the AG and inform Court that they are still studying the matter!
    In fact what they are saying is that they are delaying the matter.

    They should be ashamed of themselves. They are like foot soldiers getting orders from a Colonel!

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