Defence Counsel Maithri Gunaratne hands over observations of the Chief Magistrate to the High Court.
State Counsel informs Court: AG would take notice of the Chief Magistrates observations.

In an order delivered recently, the Colombo Chief Magistrate has held that there appears a discrepancy between the views expressed by Azath Salley during a press conference and the content of the edited version published by the media.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika C. Ragalahad observed that if the unedited version of the press conference was, published it would have been clear that the suspect had expressed an idea of building peace among the people to rise as one nation.

“The Court perused the unedited version, and if the unedited version was published, the order said it was in fact about national harmony and rising as one nation. The Criminal Investigations Department should look into persons who have distorted the original version to suit them. the order said

The order further said that no citizen who watched the unedited media conference could feel “ill will or hatred”.

Salley had made an application before Colombo Chief Magistrate’s court that he be discharged from the case since there is no evidence to proceed against him for committing offences under Prevention of Terrorism Ac and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights Act.

However, the Magistrate held that he has no power to discharge the suspect as Indictments have been filed in the High Court based on the same press conference.

The order issued by Colombo Chief Magistrate came to light today when the Bail application filed on behalf of Salley was taken up before Colombo High Court Judge ManjulaTillakaratne.

President’s Counsel Maithree Gunarathneappearing on behalf of Salley handed over the Magistrate’s order before High Court and said the Magistrate has held that there is no sufficient evidence against Salley.

Senior State Counsel Wasantha Perera appearing for the Attorney General informed the Court that the Attorney General would take notice of the order and decide as to further steps to be taken.

He further informed that since Indictments have been filed in High Court, the bail application could be made in the main matter.

Thereafter, Gunarathne moved to withdraw the application and said that he would take steps to request bail in the original matter under which the indictments had been filed.

Azath Salley was taken into custody on March 16 following remarks made at a Press Conference. The Criminal Investigations Department had informed the Court that they found no evidence against Salley concerning the vandalising of Mawanella Buddha Statues.


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