Lalin’s Column: Justice Finally
The conviction this week of Jude Jayamaha, of the murder of Yvonne Jonson at the Royal Park Condominium Rajagiriya in 2005 by the Court of Appeal restores at least partially the credibility of the collapsing judicial process in SL. Public opinion was near exhausted, flagging and sagging with hair line tolerance of law and order.
It is fervently hoped and prayed for that this single act of the court will give confidence to those who are responsible for the entire judicial process to do their duty without fear, favour, avoidable aberration or corrupted mischief.
The heads of the entire legal system of SL from the Chief Justice, the IGP, the Prison’s chief to the members of both the official and unofficial bar should from now re think their attitudes and attempt to restore the public’s expectations of and confidence in law, order and justice. Under political pressure, the system started caving in from the early 1980s.It was scorned and despised, fueling people’s despair, anger and hate. A judge was killed in daylight by a well connected drug mafia. The fear of the law had all but disappeared .
Flash acts of vigilante justice began sprouting recently. There were growing indications that if there was a break down of public utilities, not just law and order, violent past masters of people manipulators could lead in engineering murderous anarchy. People could be forgiven if they looked at even Sharia law (proper interpretation or not) as a possible remedy. Some, but not the writer, asked for the death penalty to be imposed possible unaware that death row like the rest in prisons, is inhabited almost entirely of poor people unable to get the best of lawyers while hundreds, yes hundreds of known serial killers like Julanpitiye Amare stalked the land and a group of fraudsters of a percentage of the national GDP remain scot free.
People’s memories will go back to the day the death of this young girl whose mother was a Sinhalese and father a Swede. Apparently her head had been smashed beyond recognition in the lift lobby of the luxury apartment. The killer calmly left in a vehicle seen by the security staff. His identity was certain. They will remember that the police were hesitant if not reluctant to start investigations even though the battered body remained mute testimony with ample proof to the heinous act. There were NOK witnesses to state who visited the girl’s apartment last, his erratic behavior , his moving with the deceased minutes prior to the killing and his murky spoilt brat background of a nouveau riche litter. They will recall that the now sentenced murderer had gone into hiding in a hotel north of Negombo after the killing. This fact was made known openly in the media but the police took their time to respond.
The people observed with increasing despair that unlike when a theft or fraud occurs when the police sweep in swiftly to ‘lay their hands on’ the accused, invariably some poor misguided youth, they also often immediately take the parents of accused into custody. In this case the police appeared to treat the accused with kid gloves (for murder!). No move took place some time to get at this brutal, callous and perverted murderer or his rich parents who appeared to know that strings could be pulled in every direction to pervert the course of justice. The police knew what had happened and the exact whereabouts of the killer. The hotel management concerned cannot say they were unaware but yet gave him asylum. It was a conspiracy of the rich, the powerful and the lepers of society to pervert justice.
The inconsolable Swedish father of the murdered girl made clear that he had his reservations about justice if it existed in SL. This view was fully supported by the ‘silent’ majority of the people. The former court’s decision and not only in retrospect was an absolute abomination. It certainly shamed if not disgraced the concept of justice in SL. Through the Swedish connection that shame would be broadcast internationally. Once again SL could gain global pariah status.
Due to the relentless actions of the Attorney General’s (AG’s) department led by Mr. CR de Silva himself and probably pressure brought on by the Swedish Embassy, the killer was arrested, tried and convicted but sadly not of murder but culpable homicide that the Appeal Court found completely untenable. Was it one law for the stinking rich and another for the poor? He was sentenced to 12 years in prison and fined Rs 50,000. (Fined for killing?). The AG’s department appealed the conviction as it firmly believed this was a case of murder and not culpable homicide. The killer with untold filthy wealth to spend on lawyers promising miracles too appealed. There was hope but not firm conviction due to the many infirmities and complexities that exist in SL as to whether the AG’s department would pursue its action. Thankfully after 5 years, fears of justice being denied were unfounded.
Out of the Appeal Court together with the AG there came if not assorted Lochinvars, intrepid saviours of the people. Due totally it appears to the persistence of the AG’s department, the Appeal Court has by its verdict now happily corrected a horrible aberration that kindles much hope in the restoration of the rule of law and dispensation of justice in SL.
The AG’s department which though at times has suffered turbulence at the top has not lost the respect of the people. It stands now hopefully with the judiciary as the people’s trusted protector. It has enhanced its integrity and professional reputation. It has restored for a while the morale of the citizens.
However this until now very shameful and sad episode once again brought into focus the febrile actions of the police and the denial if not the betrayal of justice. The Appeal court action should now inspire the entire judicial system to do their duty without let or favour and move away from the public’s perception of their dwindling reputation once and for all.
No doubt the Chief Justice (CJ) and the IGP will now take note of the verdict of the Appeal Court and attend to the frailties of the judicial process that was so starkly exposed. They should set forth to do their best to restore the respect and honour of the system, so that there is little or no room for its further denigration.
Possibly action could now commence in the teeth of a unprecedented crime wave that is sweeping from shore to shore, to see that while the scales of justice are fearlessly and evenly balanced, not only the perpetrators but all those who were and are partners in and accessories to crime are also punished. Who ever they may be. The public has no doubts as to who these evil men are, starting from this case itself so it would not be difficult to get a move on.
This is the also the time to remember the fate of the unfortunate Jonson girl, like many others who are victims of psychopaths, perverts and cold blooded killers and Justice Ambepitiya who was felled on the orders of a drug boss who with alleged connections to high ups in politics and the police, believed he could get away with murder. It is timely for the citizens to also remember and never forget that 23,000 servicemen died for the sake of not only a united but also very much a law abiding country and uphold the values they sacrificed themselves for.
The AG’s department and the Court of Appeal have refreshingly brought to the minds of the people and the next of kin of those who died these very thoughts. They have won the gratitude of the people. It is now up to the guardians of the judicial system to strive to uphold the highest standards of their respective professions if the evil forces now roaming freely in SL are to be thwarted. The people, who have now been inspired by what good people can do, must never relax their vigilance. They must expose both exploiters and violators of the law and demand fearless and impeccable conduct of the protectors of law, order and justice in the land.
- Asian Tribune –