The Court of Appeal order granting bail to Shani Abeysekara delivered a stinging rebuke of the Police Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) case against the former CID chief and three other police officers.
In its order, the Court of Appeal noted the six-year delay in making the complaint about the cops who investigated the 2013 contract killing of businessman Mohamed Shiyam, and strongly suggested that the allegations against Abeysekara were falsified to cause harm to the former CID chief.
The Court observed the “extraordinary delay” in the two witnesses in the 2014 murder trial making the complaint against the two cops and said the delay “demonstrates very strongly that the allegations against the suspect Shani Abeysekara are a result of falsification and embellishment and a creature of afterthought.”
The Court said the “unusual and extraordinary delay” had cost the complainant the benefit of the advantage of spontaneity, “but also smacks of the introduction of a fabricated, false version and an exaggerated account or concocted story involving a set of collaborators or conspirators to unduly cause prejudice and harm to the suspect Shani Abeysekara.”
It was “crystal clear” that the statements given by the witnesses who complained against Abeyseekera in 2020 are contradictory to statements made by them in 2014, the CA Order said.
The Court observed that the police had made a “blatant attempt to frame allegations through fabrication of false evidence” against Abeysekara, by reporting the statements of “apparent backers and supporters or collaborators of the convicted murderers” before the Magistrate’s Court of Gampaha.
Abeysekara was being charged with committing offences under the Penal Code and the Offensive Weapons and Explosives Act for the purported possession of a cache of firearms, the Court order noted.
“However, no credible evidence had been brought to the attention of the Court to substantiate this position or credibly establish a semblance of a prima facie case,” the forthright order of the Court of Appeal read.
The Court order said that while Abeysekara had been in remand custody for the last 10 months, there was no cogent material before court to establish that witnesses had been intimidated by the former CID Director. The order also noted documents submitted by Abeysekara’s lawyers, providing evidence of his poor health condition.
“Considering the totality of the material placed before us, I am of the considered view that the suspect Shani Abeysekara be enlarged on bail, subject to strict conditions imposed by this Court,” the order said.