Jun 26, 2019

Trial-at-Bar to hear elephant trafficking case

Attorney General Dappula de Livera has requested the Chief Justice to a appoint a three member Trial-at-Bar to hear the first elephant trafficking case in the legal history of this country.

Attorney General’s Co-ordinating Officer, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne told Media that the Attorney General has already prepared indictments against elephant trafficker Samarappulige Niraj Roshan alias Ali Roshan and seven others for unlawful possession of five elephants valued at Rs.30 million.

The Attorney General will file indictments against Samarappulige Niraj Roshan, Ali Roshan’s close relative Samarappuli Hewage Uchitha Nishan Dhammika, Wildlife Officers Upali Padmasiri and Priyanka Sanjeewani, Kadupitiyage Chandana Kumara Sashika Chanuka Gamlath, Palihapitiya Gamage Jayalath and Ranasinghelage Damith Chathuranga under 33 counts including conspiring to traffick five elephants between June 5, 2012 and August 31, 2015.

The charges are to be filed under 33 counts for violating the provisions of Fauna and Flora Ordinance and Public Property Act including conspiracy to traffick elephants, trafficking of elephants, unlawful possession of elephants and retention of stolen public property (elephants). At a previous occasion, the Permanent High Court-at-Bar ordered to release Samarappulige Niraj Roshan alias Ali Roshan and six others from the case filed over similar charges after upholding defence’s preliminary objections.

The Permanent High Court-at-Bar decided to reject the indictments filed by Attorney General citing that the Permanent High Court has no jurisdiction to hear this case.

At this stage defence had contended that Permanent High Court has no jurisdiction to hear this case since it had been filed under section 27 of Fauna and Flora Ordinance and section 5(3) of the Public Property Act.

Accordingly, the Attorney General has decided to file fresh indictments regarding this elephant trafficking incident.

- dailynews.lk