Three of the five people charged in connection with the murder of the Prime Minister of Ceylon, Mr.
Three of the five people charged in connection with the murder of the Prime Minister of Ceylon, Mr. Solomon Bandaranaike, were unanimously found guilty May 10 by a seven-member English speaking jury in Colombo. They were: Buddha Rakkita Thero, Buddhist Chief Priest; Somarama Thero, also a Buddhist monk, and H.P. Jayawardena, a businessman. Buddha Rakkita and Jayawardena were found guilty of conspiracy to murder and Somarama guilty of murder. Crowds watched as they were taken to prison from the courtroom.
Prime Minister Bandaranaike was shot at his residence on September 25, 1959. The preliminary magisterial enquiry concluded on July 27, 1960, after 124 days. During the trial 193 witnesses were called by the prosecution and 12 by the defence. In August last year the case went to the supreme court. On February 13 this year Mr. Justice Fernando dismissed the jury and refixed the case for February 22 before a fresh jury.
The jury returned the verdict after 3 hours and 20 minutes deliberation Mr. Justice Fernando, addressing the accused, said that sentence of death was fixed by law for murder and that the law also required him to give them a chance to speak on why death sentences should not be pronounced against them. The other two people accused of conspiracy to murder Mr. Bandaranaike were acquitted.