The Court of Appeal has acquitted the former chairman of Akuressa Pradeshiya Sabha, Saruwa Liyanage Sunil today (October 11), who was sentenced to 15 years Rigorous Imprisonment by Colombo High Court for allegedly raping an underaged girl (statutory rape) in 2012.
The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justices P. Kumaratnam and Sampath Abeykoon decided to set aside the conviction and sentence imposed by Colombo High Court against the accused since the trial judge had failed to evaluate evidence against the accused.
The former PS chairman was arrested by the Children and Women Bureau of Matara Police in July 2012 in connection with the allegations.
On January 17, 2020, the Colombo High Court handed 15-year rigorous imprisonment to the accused in connection with the allegations of raping a 14-year-old girl between the period from May 23, 2012, to June 02, 2012 in Akuressa.
He was also ordered to pay a fine of Rs.25,000 as well as Rs.250,000 in compensation to the victim.
Following a lengthy trial, the Colombo High Court had declared that the charges levelled against the accused were proven beyond a reasonable doubt and sentenced him to 15 years of rigorous imprisonment.
However, the former PS chairman had later filed an appeal challenging the prison sentence, in his appeal, the accused maintained that the conviction of the high court cannot be sustained as the victim during the High Court trial had categorically denied the petitioner committed rape on her.
President’s Counsel Sarath Jayamanne with Senior Counsel Darshana Kuruppu appeared for the accused.
After taking into account the submissions, the Appeals Court bench decided to acquit the former PS chairman in the case.