One Confession, Two Confessors : A forensic Linguistic analysis of Confessions Submitted in the High Court Cases of Nallarathnam SIngarasa and Sellapulle Mahendran


one confession


Nallaratnam Singarasa, a 20-year-old Tamil man from Navakadu, Batticaloa, was indicted on four counts of counter-terrorism offences at the Colombo High Court and convicted in 1995 and sentenced to 40 years rigorous imprisonment. Similarly, 19-year-old Sellapulle Mahendran from Vandaramullei, Batticaloa, was convicted around the same time. What is peculiar about these two cases is that both men were convicted based on confessionary evidence recorded by the same police officers.

In this paper, Visakesa Chandrasekaramanalyses the two alleged confessions using a methodology consisting of newly developed analytical tools and several existing tools used by scholars and practitioners in the discipline of forensic linguistics.

Hisanalysis finds that the confessions of Nallaratnam and Sellapulle were fabricated by the police officers. Further, the comparison of the two confessions reveals that a single template was used to fabricate them.

One Confession, Two Confessors (PDF)