Sri Lanka: The accused in a wife assault and murder was not meted out punishment due to specialist medical reports of his mental instability at the time of the crime.
Panadura Provincial High Court judge Dhamith Thotawatte said in open court that according to the Criminal Procedure Code, there is no option to impose punishment on an accused suffering from an acute mental illnesss, at the time of committing the crime.
Court had to act according to the procedure mentioned in the Law and therefore court decided to forward the case record with the judgement to the Justice Minister for information and necessary action, Judge Thotawatte said delivering his verdict.
The accused Micheal Evans Devon Francisco was found guilty of murdering his wife on December 30, 2008. However, the Court is unable to impose punishment on him because the Specialist Medical Officer of the Angoda Mental Hospital who had treated the accused for his acute mental illness had stated that he may have committed the murder while he was suffering from this acute mental illness.
Francisco was indicted by the Attorney General with committing the death of Premawathi Gamage by assaulting her. Panadura North Police had conducted the investigations into this murder and had forwarded the investigations report to the Attorney General.The Attorney General had indicted the accused with committing the murder of his wife in 2008.
Since the date of the murder, the accused was in remand and had taken treatment from the Angoda Mental Hospital for his acute mental illness.
The judge ordered the two sureties of the accused to take care and look after him and provide treatment for his acute mental illness consulting the Mental Hospital specialist and report to the High Court Registrar regarding the accused.The two sureties signed a bond and took charge of the accused from Prison custody on court order.
Attorney Kumara Jayalath Mohotty appeared for the accused. State Counsel Jayani Wegodapola appeared for the prosecution.