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Prevent arrest of ‘Choka Malli’: Ex-SDIG Lalith Jayasinghe sentenced to 5 years in prison

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Former Senior Deputy Inspector General (SDIG) of the Sabaragamuwa Province, Lalith Jayasinghe, has been sentenced to five years in prison by the Ratnapura High Court.

This sentence was issued in a case involving Jayasinghe’s alleged interference with the Kahawatte Police OIC to prevent the arrest of MP Premalal Jayasekera in connection with a shooting incident that targeted a group of individuals assembling a platform for a political event in Ratnapura in the run-up to the 2015 Presidential Election.

On 5 January 2015, an arrest warrant was issued by the Pelmadulla Magistrate for MP Jayasekara and several local politicians in relation to their suspected involvement in the shooting incident at a campaign rally for former President Maithripala Sirisena, the common opposition candidate at that time. During the shooting, a political supporter decorating the election stage was injured and later succumbed to their injuries on 8 January 2015.

Former Deputy Minister Premalal Jayasekara, former Sabaragamuwa Provincial Council member Nilantha Jayakody, and former Kahawatta Pradeshiya Sabha chairman Vajira Darshana were arrested in January 2015 in connection with the incident. MP Jayasekara was subsequently released on bail in December of the same year.

In July 2020, Jayasekara and the two other accused were initially sentenced to death for their involvement in the fatal shooting incident, with the verdict coming from the Ratnapura High Court.

However, in March 2022, the Court of Appeal acquitted MP Premalal Jayasekara and the other two individuals of charges related to the shooting incident. This decision was made due to a lack of evidence indicating that the three accused possessed firearms at the time of the incident and fired shots.

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