The Supreme Court today fixed the date to hear the appeal filed by former United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) parliamentarian Duminda Silva and four others against the death penalty imposed on them by the Colombo High Court.
A three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Priyasath Depp and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare and Vijith Malalgoda heard the petition today.
The bench ordered the petition to be taken up again on March 29 before a five-judge bench.
The five accused including former MP Duminda Silva were sentenced to death by Colombo High Court on September 8 for committing the murder of four persons including former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra on October 8, 2011.
Duminda Silva and 12 others were accused of 17 charges including the murder of Premachandra and four others. A special three-member panel of High Court judges acquitted the other seven suspects sentenced five including former MP Silva to death.
It has been reported that the High Court panel was divided over the verdict, with the chairman of the panel Justice Shiran Gunaratne in favor of acquitting all the defendants while other two Judges Padmini Ranawaka and M.C.B.S. Morayas decided to impose death sentences on the five convicts.
The five convicts in their petition to the Supreme Court request the apex court to annul the lower court ruling claiming that the manner in which the death sentence was imposed on them violated the law and free them.