Convicted Criminal to represent BBS

Vijitha Rohana Wijemuni, the Naval Rating who hit the then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi from the rear during an inspection of guard of honour outside the President’s House, Colombo in 1987, is to lead the BBS election campaign from Gampaha, the party said.

Vijitha Rohana faced a court martial headed by K.R.L. Perera, Group Captain Buddhi Siriwardhen and Colonel Vijaya Wimalaratne. He was charged with attempted murder and acting contrary to navy discipline and insulting a state leader. Prosecuted by Senior State Counsel Captain Raja Fernando, his defense team was made up of Sarath Wijesinghe, Susil Premajayantha, Stanley Thilakaratne, Brigadier (Rtd.) Donald Hewagama, D.S. Wijesinghe, Tivanka Wickramasinghe, Jayantha Weerasinghe, M.L.M. Ameen, Mahinda Jayawardena, WW. Somaratne, Kitsiri Jayasuriya, Geetha Jayasekera, Dimal Philips, Priyantha Fernando, Sandya de Silva, Rohana Jayasekera and Nalin Laduwahetty. The defense implied that Rohana was not aiming to kill since he could have stabbed the premier with the bayonet affixed to his Lee–Enfield rifle at the time.

The court martial found him guilty of attempted culpable homicide not amounting to murder and insulting the Indian Prime Minister. He was sentenced to six years in prison, however President Premadasa gave him a presidential pardon after two and a half years.

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