Photos from the Ceylon Society of Australia – 2nd Public Meeting 26th May 2019



Vicarage murders hold guests spellbound – from Doug Jones

More than 130 guests gathered on May 26 at the Ceylon Society of Australia’s second 2019 public meeting to hear CSA member

Ananda Amaranath’s dissertation on “Murders at the Vicarage – The Mathew Peris Case.” His listeners were held spellbound as he explained the intricacies of a rare, classic case in Sri Lankan legal history where an accused was found guilty based on the observations and medical opinions of numerous medical professionals who assisted the Judges of the Trial-at-Bar to arrive at a guilty verdict. The speaker illustrated his talk with clips from the Chandran Rutnam- produced movie “According to Matthew” starring Alston Koch and Jacqueline Fernandez, based on the affair and the murders, which he encouraged guests to view when possible.




        This was the famous murder case when Rev. Mathew Peris was the Vicar of St Paul’s Anglican Church in Kynsey Road, Borella. He was a well-known exorcist who conducted exorcism ceremonies in the church and frequently visited homes in Sri Lanka and abroad to conduct such ceremonies to ward off evil spirits by the invocation of religious rituals. 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.

             It was this association between Rev. Mathew and Dalrene that culminated in the deaths of Russell Ingram and Mrs Eunice Peiris.  Rev. Mathew was convicted and sentenced to death for the murders of Dalrene’s husband Russell and his own wife Mrs Eunice Peris. 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.

        In 1983, Ananda Amaranath, as a Senior State Counsel of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, was a member of the team of Prosecutors who prosecuted Rev. Mathew Peiris and Dalrene Ingram in the High Court of Colombo.

        Ananda received his schooling at St. Thomas’s College, Mount Lavinia and obtained his Law Degree from the University of Colombo. He was an Advocate of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and was also admitted as a Solicitor of England and Wales.

           On his arrival in Australia in 1989, Ananda joined the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions in NSW and practiced as a Senior Prosecutor for 27 years. For the past two years he has been in private practice in Sydney.

 

Photos from the Ceylon Society of Australia – 2nd Public Meeting 26th May 2019

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Ceylon Society of Australia Meeting 26th May 2019 Ceylon Society of Australia Meeting 26th May 2019 Ceylon Society of Australia Meeting 26th May 2019 Ceylon Society of Australia Meeting 26th May 2019 Ceylon Society of Australia Meeting 26th May 2019 Ceylon Society of Australia Meeting 26th May 2019 Ceylon Society of Australia 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.



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