We write this to encourage the victims of such crimes, that may they follow the example of this victim and not suffer in silence…..
If Judicial intervention is not sought in similar cases, perhaps this type of criminals may continue to live with both mother and the daughter….
In Sri Lanka, the Kegalle High Court Judge Hon. Ms. Jayaki de Alwis, sentenced the accused for 16 years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs. 10,000/- on the 26th January 2023 in the rape case of a child. Apart from that, the Judge ordered Rs. 500,000/= as compensation to the victim, if not paid another 05 years of imprisonment.
In the absence of her mother, the victim was raped by her own father in 2010 when she was just 13 years. Victim had one younger brother and a younger sister both were looked after by the victim while the mother was working as a domestic helper in Middle East. Victims’ mother has suffered immensely in the hands of her husband, often she was assaulted, denied of food and was finally forced to leave the country and earn.
The Victim was raped by her father on many occasions in 2010 until she became pregnant. Perpetrator, father has taken the victim for an abortion but the request was overturned since she was 04 months pregnant by then. Victim who was panicked by her pregnancy, has brought her ordeal, the torture and rape to the notice of her class teacher. With the intervention of the school authorities and the police, the victim was sent to the care of the probation by the Magistrate, while the accused was arrested and remanded. Since then, the victim was under the care of the probation at the childcare service center. It was traumatic to her to leave her younger sister and brother in the absence of her mother. The traumatic events that unfolded with her mother’s departure made her depressed and thus on 03 occasions she has attempted to commit suicide while she was at the childcare service center. Finally, the victim delivered a baby girl on the 31st January 2011 when she was just 14 years of age. Even after giving birth to the child, the victim has suffered being a child herself.
When the mother of the victim was informed of the unfortunate events, she returned to Sri Lanka in 2011. The perpetrator, the father of the victim who was released on bail was living with another woman. Victims’ family was by then left high and dry without any source of income and victim’s mother was forced to work as a casual labour in road construction sites, selling bed sheets, selling dry fish, working in garment factories etc. In spite of her poverty stricken life, in 2014, the mother of the victim decides to adopt the granddaughter and has taken the custody of the child who with special needs.
The victim was brought to Kandy by the Human Rights Office in 2014 and since then she was provided protection, security, counseling, educational, legal assistance and once again the victim walked to the school as a school girl focusing on her education and sat for the GCE A/L exam (University entrance exam) in 2016 while being in a convent.
The rape case against the perpetrator was called in at the Ruwenwella Magistrate court from 23rd December 2010 to 2015 on 33 different days and it was committed to the Kegalle High court. Since 2019 the case was called for trial at Kegalle High court on 15 days for which the victim was accompanied by HRO Director and the staff. Often the perpetrator absconded the court and presented medical certificates therefore, the accused was remanded when the case was called on the 15th December 2022 until the case was taken for trial on the 26th January 2023.
On the 26th January 2023 the case was taken for trial and the indictment against the accused was read out with 03 charges of rape and the accused was asked whether he is guilty. The lawyer appearing for the accused accepted the charges against him, perhaps there was no option as the DNA test proved that the child of the victims was his. The lady Judge who was at the bench was further surprised to learn that the accused is living with another woman and she too has an infant of 1 ½ months. The Judge then said that the accused has to be imprisoned not only for this crime but also for the crimes that he has committing against innocent women. The lawyer appearing for the accused requested a short sentence because he has pleaded guilty and will promise to take care of the victim. The counsel appearing on the interest of the victim objected and said the accused should not further complicate the life of the victim by trying to assist the victim. Accepting this request, the Judge warned the accused not to interfere in the life of the victim hereafter.
On the day the case concluded, on the 26th January 2023 the victim was accompanied to court by the Director of HRO and the staff members. Senior counsel Mr. Titus Manatunga and Ms. Upesksha Perera appeared for the interest of the victim.
Although an ordeal of a young school girl judicially ended due to her courage and consistent efforts in seeking Justice, sufferings of many other girls continue due to the undue court delay in judicial system in Sri Lanka. The victim received Justice at a high cost, sacrificing her childhood, sacrificing her family and her own life. Sincere appreciation to our HRO legal team who stood by her in court, the religious who protected and provided accommodation & Education, HRO staff & the support group for journeying with the victim and her mother for almost 10 long years.
We write this to encourage the victims of such crimes, that may they follow the example of this victim and not suffer in silence. If Judicial intervention is not sought in similar cases, perhaps this type of criminal may continue to live with both mother and the daughter.
We salute the victim for her courage, for her consistency in seeking Justice for 13 long years and for all those who assisted her especially the Lawyers who appeared for the victim; Senior counsel Mr. Titus Manatunga, Mr. Suren D. Perera, Ms. Geeva Nilmalgoda, Mr. Madawa Eriyagama and Ms. Upesksha Perera.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
@ 2019 All Rights Received