Former Kurunegala Mayor Thushara Sanjeewa Vitharana and four others were sentenced to three years of rigorous imprisonment for the demolition of the King’s Assembly Hall in Kurunegala dating back to the era of King Buwanekabahu.
Kurunegala Provincial High Court Judge Lal Bandara delivered the sentence and also mandated the accused to pay a compensation of Rs. 13.7 million for the damages caused to the structure.
On 14 July 2020, the Kurunegala Municipal Council demolished the King’s Assembly Hall, an archaeologically significant site, as part of a road expansion project.
Despite the move being highly criticised at the time, Vitharana justified his actions and denied the building had any historical importance as claimed.
Subsequently, legal action was initiated against Vitharana, the then Kuru-negala Urban Commissioner Pradeep Nishantha Thilakaratne, Acting Superintendent Ilaldeen Zulfikar, and backhoe operator Lakshman Priyantha after the Department of Archaeology then filed a complaint claiming that the building has been listed under the provisions of the Antiquities Ordinance No. 9 of 1940.