Date(s) - 26/05/2019
6:30 pm - 10:00 pm
Pennant Hills Community Center
Ceylon Society of Australia – 2nd Public Meeting 26th May 2019
Ceylon Society of Australia
Second Public Meeting on Sunday 26th May 2019
Founded in 1997. Incorporated in Australia.
In the legal history of Sri Lanka, only few cases have had the guilt or innocence of an accused been decided on
medical evidence. The trial of the murder of Russell Ingram and Eunice Pieris by administration of an anti-diabetic
drug in their meals is an example where medical evidence played a critical role in the final guilty verdict.
Rev. Mathew Peiris was the Vicar of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Kynsey Road, Borella. A wellknown
exorcist, he conducted exorcism ceremonies in the church and frequently visited homes in Sri Lanka and
abroad to ward off evil spirits. Dalrene Ingram, the co-accused in this trial, first came into contact with Rev. Mathew
at such a ceremony. Dalrene was employed by Rev. Mathew as his secretary and typist, and moved into the vicarage
with her family that included her husband Russell and three children.
This association between Rev. Mathew and Dalrene culminated in the death of Russell Ingram and Mrs
Eunice Peiris. Rev. Mathew was convicted and sentenced to death. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment
in 1994. Having spent 15 years in jail, the 79 year-old Rev. Mathew was released from jail in a general amnesty on
28 October 1997.
He was still in robes when he came out of jail and professed his faith in God. He passed away on
12 May 1998.
Dalrene’s death sentence was set aside and she was acquitted by the Court of Criminal Appeal.
The story of this case will be related by our speaker Ananda Amaranath who comes from Beliatte in the
deep south of Sri Lanka. His schooling was at St. Thomas’s College and his Law Degree is from the University of
Colombo. He is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and was also admitted as a Solicitor of England and
Wales. Subsequently, he was admitted as a Barrister of the Supreme Court of Seychelles and in Australia as a Barrister
and Solicitor of New South Wales. He had a short period in private practice in Colombo following graduation,
after which he joined the Attorney General’s Department as a State Counsel. He prosecuted in various provincial
High Courts in Sri Lanka and was involved in several murder cases. Noteworthy in his experience were the trials
arising out of the 1971 JVP insurrection and the Galenbindunuwewa murder case, which is regarded as one of the
famous criminal cases of Sri Lanka.
In 1983, as a Senior State Counsel, he was a member of a team of Prosecutors who prosecuted
Rev. Mathew Peiris and Dalrene Ingram in the High Court of Colombo.At the end of 1983, he was seconded to the
Attorney General’s Chambers of the Republic of Seychelles and was appointed Principal State Counsel, responsible
for the management of the civil and criminal divisions of the Chambers and appearing as a Barrister in the more
complex cases that came up in the Courts.
On his arrival in Australia in 1989, he joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in NSW and
actised as a Senior Prosecutor for 27 years. For the past two years he has been in private practice in Sydney.
Admission is FREE to all members and their guests and all are welcome to attend.
Social: A brief question time from the audience will be followed by a social. Those able to are requested to please
bringa plate of non-sweet, savory finger food. Avoid cakes with icing please as the general preference is for
plain cakes, sandwiches and savoury pastries.To avoid duplication of food items please contact our Social
Convenor Amal Wahab on (02) 9402 7735. As an alternative, a donation to the CSA to help defray costs could be
made at the meeting.
The second public meeting for 2019 of the Ceylon Society of Australia will be on Sunday 26th May 2019
commencing at 6.30 PM at the Pennant Hills Community Centre Hall, corner Ramsay Road (off Yarrara Road).
Parking is available at the rear of the Pennant hills Public Library. Entry is free and members and their guests
Sunday 26th May 2019
at Hills Community Centre Hall,
Corner Ramsay Road (off Yarrara
Ananda Amaranath LLB
will speak on
Murders at the Vicarage – The Mathew Peiris Case