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Prosecution concludes examination
At the time of the prosecution concluding its examination in the ongoing trial-at-bar at the Jaffna High Court into the abduction, gang rape and murder of a 17-year-old schoolgirl in Pungudutivu in Jaffna on 2015 May 13, an expert witness revealed that the blood samples taken from three of the accused matched a blood sample taken from the deceased’s mother.

The said three accused include the first, second and third defendants, namely Poopalasingam Indrakumar alias Sinnaraja (first defendant), Poopalasingam Vijayakumar alias Ravi (second defendant) and Poopalasingam Thawakkumar alias Sendil (third defendant), the trio being brothers by blood. The victim’s mother is Sivaloganathan Saraswathy.

According to the said expert, Head of Forensics at the Genetech (Molecular Diagnostics and the School of Gene Technology), Dr. Ruwan Illeperuma, who appeared as the 53rd witness for the prosecution in the case, this was proof that the said accused trio hailed from the same maternal lineage as the murdered schoolgirl’s mother.

The first ever trial-at-bar in Jaffna began on June 28. The bench includes High Court Judges, B. Sasi Mahendran (President of the panel), M. Ellencheliyan and A. Premashankar.
Of those arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department in relation to the case, the nine who have been indicted on many counts including on charges of plotting (to abduct), abduction, rape, murder, aiding and abetting, and unlawful assembly amongst other such offences include Sinnaraja, Ravi, Sendil, Mahalingam Shashidaran alias Shashi (fourth defendant), T. Chandrakanth alias Chandra (fifth defendant), Sivadevan Kushanthan alias Periyathambi (sixth defendant), P.R. Kuganathan alias Sishanthan (seventh defendant), Jayadaran Kokilan alias Karu (eighth defendant) and Mahalingam Shashikumar alias Swiss Kumar (ninth defendant). The third respondent, Thawakkumar aka Sendil is the second respondent, Ravi’s brother.

Dr. Illeperuma, who carried out tests including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) tests on the evidence that had been made available to him by the Government Analyst’s Department approximately three months following the gang rape and killing (in 2015 September), had further testified that due to environmental factors such as heat and moisture there was a possibility of and tendency for certain items of evidence which were exposed to such aforementioned factors to deteriorate, thus negatively affecting the tests including DNA tests that were conducted.

The suspects have been remanded till August 28, which is when the defence is scheduled to present evidence at the hearings which are to continue from August 28 to August 30 and thence from September 4 till September 11.