Rtd. Army officer gets 4-yr prison sentence for intimidating witnesses
2 months ago | BY Buddhika Samaraweera
- Also fined Rs. 300,000 for contempt of court
The Supreme Court (SC) yesterday (24) sentenced Attorney and retired Army Major Ajith Prasanna to four years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) and fined him Rs. 300,000 upon conviction on charges of contempt of court for holding a media briefing and intimidating witnesses in a case against several Navy officials over the alleged abduction and disappearance of 11 youths during the period from 2008 to 2009.
The relevant case was taken up before the SC yesterday and SC Judges, Justices Preethi Padman Surasena and President’s Counsel (PC) S. Thurairaja announced the verdict, sentencing Prasanna to four years of RI. He was also fined a sum of Rs. 300,000 and will have to serve another six months of imprisonment if he fails to pay the relevant fine.
Three defendants, including Prasanna and two Naval intelligence officers, were accused of holding a media briefing and intimidating witnesses in a case against several Navy officials over the abduction and disappearance of 11 youths between 2008 and 2009, which was heard at the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court. Accordingly, the Colombo Magistrate’s Court had ordered the arrest of Prasanna in December 2019, and his attorneys had argued that no evidence had been presented to the court to the effect that he had violated the provisions of the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crimes and Witnesses Act, but the bail request was rejected by the court. He had then filed an application against the Colombo Magistrate’s Court’s order before the Court of Appeal (CoA). This application was taken up before CoA Judges, Justices Devika Abeyratne and Priyantha Fernando in January 2021, who ordered Prasanna to be released on two personal bails amounting to Rs. 500,000 each. The CoA also ordered him to appear before the Criminal Investigations Department on the final Sunday of every month.