Ven. Dhammaloka Thera acquitted in elephant case | Daily News

Ven. Dhammaloka Thera acquitted in elephant case

Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera with his lawyers after the verdict. Picture by Dushmantha Mayadunne
Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera with his lawyers after the verdict. Picture by Dushmantha Mayadunne

The Colombo High Court yesterday ordered to acquit and release Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera from a case filed for allegedly possessing a calf elephant without a valid licence.

While ordering to acquit and release Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera from two counts including possessing a baby elephant without a valid licence, Colombo High Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne observed that the prosecution failed to prove the case without a reasonable doubt.

The High Court Judge maintained that there is no credible evidence to prove the fact that the calf elephant had been in the custody of Dhammaloka Thera.

The High Court Judge further observed that the telephone calls given by first prosecution witness to the accused do not constitute the fact that the elephant was in the custody of the accused.

At a previous occasion, Colombo High Court concluded recording evidence from both prosecution and defence witnesses.

The Attorney General (AG) had filed indictments against Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera on two counts for allegedly possessing a baby elephant without a valid licence.

The indictment has been filed over two counts under Section 22 (12) of the Fauna and Flora Protection (Amendment) Act, No.22 of 2009 and Section 5(3) (a) of the Public Property Act. The Attorney General had named 19 persons as witnesses in the case and three documents as production items in the case.

This is the first time in Sri Lanka that an accused had been indicted in the High Court by the Attorney General over an offence of possessing an elephant without a valid licence following the amendments to the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance in 2009.

Wildlife Department officials had taken into custody a two-and half-year-old elephant calf which was found inside the Alan Mathiniyaramaya Temple in Polhengoda on January 28, 2015.

The Attorney General maintained that Ven. Dhammaloka Thera had illegally possessed a stolen property, a baby elephant without a valid licence, an offence coming under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance. The Attorney General further alleged that the accused had also committed a punishable offence under the Public Property Act since he had intentionally kept a baby elephant without a valid licence.

The Attorney General alleged that the accused had committed this offence on or around January 28, 2015 with the Colombo High Court’s jurisdiction.

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara appeared for the Attorney General. President’s Counsel Prasantha Lal de Alwis and Counsel Maheshi de Silva, Chamara Wannisekara, Oshan Ubhayaratne and Samith Kalhara appeared for the accused. 

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Court acquits and releases Dhammaloka thera from elephant case - (15:53)

The Colombo High Court today ordered to acquit and release Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera from a case filed for allegedly possessing a baby elephant without a valid licence.

While ordering to acquit and release Ven. Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera from two counts including possessing a baby elephant without a valid licence, Colombo High Court Judge Sampath Wijeratne observed that the prosecution failed to prove the case without a reasonable doubt.  

The High Court Judge maintained that there is no credible evidence to prove the fact that baby elephant had been in the custody of Dhammaloka Thera.

The High Court judge further observed that the telephone calls given by first prosecution witness to the accused do not constitute the fact that the elephant was in the custody of the accused. 


 

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