(Tissainayagam Case:)ASP not present when statement was recorded — counsel

7th Oct ( Daily Mirror)

At the conclusion of the cross examination of the Assistant Superintendent of Police Sri Lal Ranasinghe during the Voire Dire inquiry,  defence counsel Anil Silva stated in the Colombo High Court that the ASP had not been present at the time J. S. Tissaiayagam was made to write down his statement.

Defence counsel also stated that Tissainayagam had been forced by investigating officers to write the statement in his own hand on the day that Jasiharan was tortured. The prosecution objected to the defence tabling Jasiharan’s medical report in which the JMO has recorded that Jasiharan had been tortured on May 9.

When defence counsel asked the ASP if he had heard of Jasiharan, ASP Ranasinghe said he could not recall. When further questioned,  witness said his name had come up in conversation with the TID Director Nandana Munasinghe. But, the ASP said, Jasiharan had not come to him to make a confession, so he did not know him.

“I don’t know who is detained in the TID. Only if someone comes to make a confession do I know them,” he said.  The ASP also denied any knowledge of the Magistrate’s Court having summoned the TID director to court to explain the reason why Jasiharan had two medical reports and that the director had not answered the magistrate’s summons. “This is handled by the legal department, I don’t know any of this,” he said.

The ASP also said he did not know that Tissainayagam was taken to the Magistrate’s Court on April 1 as per the Emergency Regulations, and he did not know that Tissainayagam and Jasiharan had been charged in the Magistrate’s Court. The ASP also denied any knowledge that Tissainayagam had an eye condition and that he had been taken to the Eye Hospital on May 9.

On September 17, the ASP said that the time of making the cautionary statement (made before a confession) had been changed due to a typographical error. The time had been changed from 15.30 on March 7 to 13.30.  Even with this error and five other errors, the ASP had signed this statement. Defence counsel suggested that the time of the cautionary statement had been changed because the TID had found, when later perusing the document,that Tissainayagam’s wife had visited him on the 7th at the time originally mentioned.

Defence counsel also asked the ASP if in the statements — on both the 7th and the 9th — there was a set of questions typed and ready to be asked. The ASP said: “No. I asked the questions and then the typist typed it.”

Defence Counsel: How is it the questions asked on the 7th and the 9th are identical in both sequence and form, and even the answers given are identical, even though it was translated by two different translators?

The ASP did not answer. 

Defence Counsel submitted to court that on account of the above the ASP could not have been present when Tissainayagam was forced to write his statement.

 The cross examination was concluded and re-examination was fixed for October 9.