Club Wasantha Killing: Police Exploitation Exposed

Filming and broadcasting the interrogation of a suspect, along with their alleged confession, lacks legal justification.

1 min read
Club Wasantha: Where politics meets camaraderie. With numerous politicians in close ties, he claims 60% of parliamentarians as friends. [Courtesy: Lanka Sara]

Wasantha, notorious for his underworld ties, was brutally murdered along with his colleague. His wife and another singer were gravely wounded and remain hospitalized. Wasantha was a prominent figure in the underworld, well-known across the country, yet many remained silent until his death. His residence symbolized a different breed of underworld activity, with ties extending to over sixty percent of parliamentarians, as evidenced in incriminating photographs.

In this backdrop, the recent events surrounding Wasantha’s death have unfolded into a disturbing narrative, transforming a murder investigation into a spectacle akin to reality TV.

The scene is set at Athurugiriya Police Station. A handcuffed suspect linked to Wasantha’s murder, formerly a tattoo studio owner, is paraded into an office surrounded by cameras. In the background, Gayanga Marapana, Deputy Inspector General of Police for Western Province South, oversees the interrogation. Officers swarm around, interrogating the suspect vigorously. The suspect is coerced into making a confession, captured on video and swiftly broadcast across major media outlets.

Knowledgeable investigators or scripted actors? Police during the interrogation of a suspect in the killing of Club Wasantha

While Deputy Inspector General Marapana may find amusement in this charade, discerning observers are left appalled, their faith in justice shaken to the core.

This incident occurred just three days ago, with the investigation still in its early stages. The suspect remains just that—a suspect—entitled to due process under the law, not a public trial by media.

Society expects investigations into such heinous crimes to be conducted with integrity and professionalism, instilling confidence in law-abiding citizens. However, the police have abandoned these principles, shamelessly exposing their moral bankruptcy to the world through televised theatrics.

Filming and broadcasting the interrogation of a suspect, along with their alleged confession, lacks legal justification. Yet, here we witness the police flouting these norms, jeopardizing the integrity of future judicial proceedings.

Magistrate Chanima Wijebandara of Kaduwela rightly rejected the police’s request to detain and interrogate suspects, emphasizing adherence to lawful procedures. Lawyer Dr. Palitha Bandara Subasinghe raises crucial questions:

  1. Can confessions obtained by police be publicly aired?
  2. Is the murder investigation prematurely concluded?
  3. Who sanctioned this media spectacle?
  4. Will this not prejudice future proceedings?
  5. Are the accused truly implicated?
  6. Could these confessions be coerced?
  7. Or is this a ploy to manipulate investigations?
  8. Where is the presumption of innocence?

Seemingly, everyone is an actor in this theater of justice, with the police outshining them all in their performance for the cameras.

Janaka Liyanaarachchi

Janaka Liyanaarachchi is a journalist and editor at Lanka Sara, a daily online news portal based in Colombo.

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