A response to a public post by Selvarajah Jeyakanth  on a High Court ruling on 17/10/2019 in Trincomalee, Sri Lanka (HCT/853/2018)

These events have been covered in the local Tamil press here (archive) and here (archive), (there are some inaccuracies in these reports) A summary of the reports in English is here. JS'; prayer report is appended with my responses in red below each section.

Judge Ilancheliyan

Upsetting court cases

For two years, the home has been the object of false accusations by a former worker, leading to a court case. The case has repeatedly been postponed, a typical situation in our country. The accusations illustrate the systematic pressure on Christians and other minorities.

Sadly two LEFC workers, George and Mariyadas, who had no direct connection with the Children';s Home, have recently lost a court case accusing them of raping two mentally retarded girls eight years ago. The judgement was a big shock as it had already been thrown out at the Magistrates court.

Velu Sivalingan Velu George has acted as Jeyakanth's legal representative, for example on 14/5/2012 signing on behalf of LEF. He was listed as a formal participant in an investigative meeting into the homes in 19/11/2011. Kanakaratnam Mariydas was a casual labourer who lived on the compound with the children's homes at 6 Mile Post. Was the case thrown out of the Magistrates Court, or repeatedly delayed?

The girls'; mother was a Christian, but was mentally disturbed and committed suicide by setting fire to herself, after which the girls came to the Children';s Home.

It is commonly reported the mother killed herself because of the discovery of abuse of her daughter.

 The girls'; behaviour was uncontrollable and because of their violence towards other children, they were withdrawn from both their school and the Children';s Home on the advice of Social Services. Their father looked after them in a separate house at 6 Mile Post, where the rapes are alleged to have happened.

These are no longer just allegations, they are convictions. Both men have been found guilty of the crimes they have been charged with. This is now well known in Sri Lanka.

The case was brought by their mother';s sister, who hoped, it seems, to make money from an out of court settlement with George and Mariyadas.

It is a serious matter to impugn the aunt's motives in such a serious crime, especially after a verdict.

They refused this as they knew they were innocent. Earlier she had also falsely accused their father of rape as she wanted to take her sister';s land from him. Sadly he died in prison while awaiting trial.

There are murky circumstances about the death, and its certification for the girls' father. The father was previously reported in a formal investigation to have died at home, not in prison, but was indicted with the same crime as the other men. He too worked as a casual labourer at the children's homes under Jeyakanth's supervision.

This aunt with whom the girls are now living made these accusations because she was very angry George had helped the girls'; father fight to keep his wife';s land and that Mariyadas had shown great kindness to him. A police enquiry found no evidence for the rapes so the case was dismissed.

The case against both men has been active since at least July 2011 (the press claim 2010). If the police had dismissed the claims, that should be documentable. If so why did it then proceed, as claimed to the magistrate's court? The judge made strongly critical comments about serious mishandling by the police of the case, to the extent a female officer fainted in court.

 However she contacted some enemies of LEFC including Ps. Murali, who wrote many letters to the judge criticising the Children';s Home using different pseudo-names.

Appeals to the judges and child protection authorities in Sri Lanka have been made, after being deeply concerned that the domestic supporters in the UK were not looking at the claims objectively. 

 It appears the judge has been taken in by the falsehoods. I firmly believe they are innocent.

To confidently overturn a High Court judgement like this highlights a serious disregard for due process.

The accusations were made long after the supposed rape by highly impressionable mentally unstable girls. In addition close Christian neighbours living either side of their house heard nothing amiss.

I have seen a detailed transcript of interview of one victim conducted by a forensic psychiatrist. The child was drugged and sodomised on repeated occasions by the two men. The judge will have considered all the evidence in the round With some experience of testing this, the interview allegations appear credible and fully worthy of immediate precautions. The girls'; evidence matched exactly under cross examination. Deut 19:15.

At court the judge spoke about how the Christians at 6 Mile Post are trying to force Hindu children to convert and he was generally very antagonistic to the work.

Jeyakanth frequently invokes sectarian tensions in his prayer letters. Sometimes it has been hard to substantiate this claim, and opposition has actually also arisen because of concerns about probity. This illustrates it well. He needs to evidence this allegation against the judge. I am aware of no corroboration for it. On the contrary the court's ruling was received as just and the verdict long postponed, by many local Christians and by other observers.

Opponents have been using social media to circulate the judgement to try to discredit the work at 6 Mile Post. The men are facing 10 years in prison and a fine of £2,500. The families plan to appeal to the Supreme Court.

The judge said the man overall in charge of 6 Mile Post i.e myself, is culpable as well. The implications of this are unclear.

It is only to state a principle of law, that those who supervise convicted child abusers, are also culpable.

Some basic questions for Jeyakanth's supporters:

1/ Do they recognise the strong evidence VS George was attached to Jeyakanth's work in the LEFC? Do they acknowledge that the girl's father and Mariydas provided casual labour for his work and lived for extended periods on the compound. If these men are unconnected with Jeyakanth's work, why is he defending them at length? If they are connected why is he dissociating himself from them?

2/ Do they acknowledge the seriousness of employing convicted paedophiles, and defending them?

3/ Do they also dispute the High Court ruling?

4/ Has Jeyakanth used donated monies to support their defence? Has he paid for their bail?  If so when did he do this and has he been transparent about this with his supporters?

5/ Is he supporting their legal appeal to the supreme court financially either directly or indirectly? If so, from what source?

6/ Has he sought to exercise any influence over the police, court clerks, magistrates or judges in previous proceedings? What form did this influence take?

7/ Has he approached the family of the victims? What interactions did he have with them? Has he ever offered them inducements to drop the case?

8/ Is it fair to criticise a fellow minister without any evidence? Where is the proof Pastor Muralee or any other party used false names to appeal to the judge or child protection authorities?

Charles Soper


Addendum 12/1/20

On the 9th January the LEF Council indicated they do support the appeal of the two men, associated with Jeyakanth, convicted of serial child rape, to the Supreme Court. Whether supporters' money will be used to help fund this, they have not clarified.

This matter is the tip of an iceberg of many, serious allegations of sexual impropriety, intimidation, misappropriation, extortion and other serious charges, many multiply corroborated, laid by at least 7 senior elders and many other Christians witnesses. These have often been backed up by written eyewitness and documentary and legal testimony.
There is urgent need for a thorough, independent investigation of this affair in Sri Lanka, with independent Tamil interpreters.
Like many others I have now completely lost confidence in the UK supporting organisations to investigate this impartially themselves. Again and again basic issues of justice seem to have been neglected, and to the shame of the churches involved, the secular authorities, though still painfully slow, have been more active and careful in addressing safeguarding and other concerns than these Christians.

More on this background here.

With the permission of the authors, one example of the charges laid is here.
A brother who has been a SFO investigator for 18 years looks at the arrangements for funding of the LEFC and finds them very wanting.

Comments or criticisms on accuracy are welcome at c p soper at g mail dot com (no spaces)