Attorney General Dappula De Livera has informed the Justice Ministry that Premalal Jayasekara alias ‘Choka Malli’ who was elected to Parliament from the Ratnapura District was not eligible for taking oaths as a Parliamentarian.
Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne told the media that the Attorney General informed this to the Justice Ministry based on a request seeking advice by the Secretary to the Justice Ministry.
The Prison Department directed the request made by Premalal Jayasekara seeking to allow him to take oaths as a Parliamentarian to the Justice Ministry on August 19. On the same day the Justice Ministry directed the matter to the Attorney General seeking advice from him in this regard.
Premalal Jayasekara had also filed an appeal before the Court of Appeal challenging his death penalty.
Accordingly, the Attorney General said that according to terms of Section 333 (4) of the Criminal Procedure code, when an accused is sentenced to death, the death penalty should be suspended on appeal and the accused should be treated in accordance with the provisions of the Prisons Ordinance until the appeal is decided. “Also, there is no legal basis for granting bail on appeal to an accused who has been sentenced to death,” the AG said.
Further, the Attorney General pointed out that if a person is subject to any disqualification under Article 89 of the Constitution or is subject to any disqualification, that person is not eligible to be elected as a Member of Parliament or to sit in Parliament and vote in Parliament.
Also, according to Article 89 (c) of the Constitution, if a person is subject to the death penalty, it will result in the loss of even his right to vote.
Accordingly, the Attorney General pointed out that Premalal Jayasekara cannot take oaths as a Parliamentarian.
On August 1, Premalal Jayasekara and two others who were found guilty for shooting to death a person and critically injuring two others during the 2015 Presidential Election campaign were sentenced to death by the Ratnapura High Court. The three accused including former Parliamentarian Premalal Jayasekara, former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council member Nilantha Jayakody and former Kahawatta Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman Vajira Darshana were charged in connection with alleged assault during the 2015 Presidential election period, killing one person and wounding two others by shooting as the victims were decorating an election stage of the then Common Candidate and former President Maithripala Sirisena in Kahawatta, Ratnapura.
The victim killed in the shooting incident was Dodangodage Susil Perera alias Shantha Dodangoda and the injured were K.Karunadasa Weerasinghe and M.Ilshan.
(Source: Daily News – By Dilshan Tharaka)