A man was acquitted by the Court of Appeal today of drug trafficking charges after being on death row for several years because the prosecution failed to call the government analyst as a witness to prove that the production and quantity of production sent to him were actually heroin.
It was revealed that the court interpreter had marked and produced the report of the government analyst instead of calling him a witness during the High Court trial.
Considering the appeal filed by the accused, the Court of Appeal held that the court interpreter was not competent to speak about the contents of a government analyst report. The Court of Appeal further held that the High Court Judge was misdirected when it was decided to accept the contents of the government analyst report without the prosecution proving it at the trial court.
Accused Zeik Ismail Akbar, alias Master, was sentenced to death by the Colombo High Court for possession and trafficking 51.88 grams of diacetylmorphine, commonly known as heroin, on the 3rd of July 2014 at Modara Rajamalwaththa.
The defence taken up by the accused in this case was a denial that he had any heroin in his possession. The defence further argued that the prosecution failed to prove the ingredients of the indictment beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defence further argued that there was no admission recorded as to the Government Analyst Report. It was the position of the defence that, by adopting this procedure, the prosecution has failed to prove that the products sent to the Government Analyst were actually heroin, and the quantity of Heroin as well. The defense was of the view that marking the government analyst report through an officer of the court cannot be accepted as proving the contents of the report.
The Court of Appeal’s two-judge bench, comprising Justices Sampath Abayakoon and P. Kumararatnam, observed that they had no option but to allow the appeal and set aside the conviction and sentence.


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