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The National Authority for the protection of victims and witnesses of crime should intervene in cases where the accused are threatened or attacked, Attorney-at-Law and Senior Lecturer of Law at Colombo University, Dr. Prathiba Mahanamahewa said.

The National Authority for the protection of victims and witnesses of crime was established under the provisions of the Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act, No. 4 of 2015.

The call for protection for defendants comes after the incident where a prison bus carrying suspects came under fire on March 2, injuring Chaminda Ravi Jayanath alias Dematagoda Chaminda, a suspect involved in the murder of former Minister Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra.

Police Media Spokesman, ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said that the Police had not sought an opinion from the said National Authority as to whether Dematagoda Chaminda should or would receive protection from the National Authority as per the provisions of the Act. Dr. Mahanamahewa observed that an individual could be a defendant/an accused, a witness and a victim, all at the same time.

“It is immaterial whether the person who is shot at is a member of the underworld/mafia. When he is shot at, he becomes a victim,” he said.