Raising a preliminary objection in the case filed against former defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa the Defense said today the Special High Court had no jurisdiction to hear the case under the Judicature (Amendment) Act.
At the outset, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for Mr. Rajapaksa said when this Bill was proposed to establish the Special High Courts to try certain types of cases, it was challenged before the Supreme Court that it violated Article 12(1) (equality of law) of the Constitution as the establishment of such courts may discriminate the parties in other similar cases. Thereafter, the SC gave cognizance to the fact that such an amendment may unfairly discriminate accused and aggrieved parties in other cases.
However, PC De Silva said in order to justify that argument the Attorney General had submitted written submissions in the SC saying the Amendment was only against certain types of offences, such as serious financial and economic crimes that adversely effect the country’s economy. The AG had said that those types of offences will be dealt by specially trained judges at the Special High Court.
“Our position is that, in this case, the levelled allegations are common wrongdoings filed in courts every day, since this allegation has no repercussion on national economy or finance, therefore, the case should be dismissed from the Special High Court”, the PC said and that he was also of the view that the prosecution could still file the case in the normal High Court for the offence.
He also contended about the direction made by the Chief Justice appointing the Special Trial-at-bar to hear this case. PC De Silva was of the view that the Chief Justice had only looked at the public perception and circumstances when directing on this case and it is the Attorney General who should determine on the facts of the case. Therefore he said that direction was merely a administrative action and that the Chief Justice is not called upon to decide whether a matter is a serious financial crime.
He also moved that his client had been accused of ‘Abetting’ and ‘Conspiracy’, which are not covered in the Schedule 6 of the Act and under the Public Property Act there is no reference to such offences together with the principal offence unlike the Money Laundering Act which specifically has provisions for abatement and conspiracy.
He said abetting and conspiracy were brought in by the prosecution under the sections 102 and 113 of the Penal Code, and that there is legal impediment to bring in such offences combined with the Public Property Act under the schedule 6 of the Judicature (amendment) Act.
President’s Counsel Anil Silva said under the Section 12(a) of the Judicature (amendment) Act, there is an uncertainty on the definition over what exactly it meant as ‘serious financial crime’. Therefore he said in such an ambiguous situation the Court has no jurisdiction to decide on the offences.
Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris requesting further time to respond to the preliminary objection on the jurisdiction specifically informed the Trial-At-Bar that the prosecution is concerned by the atmosphere of the Court house and its premises as several apparent private guards standing here and there. He said there was concern over some individuals who are not appearing for the accused in the case making statements to the media after the case at the court premises as those things can adversely affect the mind of the witnesses of the prosecution. DSG said he will make comprehensive submission with regard to that on the next date seeking appropriate court orders.
The former defense secretary and six others were indicted on charges of misappropriating Rs.49 million in connection with the construction of the D. A. Rajapaksa Museum and Memorial in Medamulana using LRDC funds.
Trial-at-Bar Bench comprising High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon (President), Sampath Abeykoon and Champa Janaki Rajaratne will resume the hearing on January31, 2019 with the response of the Attorney General with regard to the preliminary objection raised by the defense. (Shehan Chamika Silva)
What is this Mr. Romesh Silva saying "since this allegation has no repercussion on national economy or finance"? If the money used is from public funds, and not GR's, then there is an issue with national economy and finance.
Defence Wednesday, 23 January 2019 05:23 AM
Good defence - don't worry as long as the law makers and the law breakers are the same people nothing will happen to former defence secretary. These laws are enacted to punish those who take small sprats and not the sharks of this country.
Banda Wednesday, 23 January 2019 05:25 AM
MR won't allow this to happen!
ed Wednesday, 23 January 2019 05:38 AM
ONLY WHEN IT COMES TO GOTA AND HIS CORRUPT CASES AND MURDER OF LASANTHA THAT HE TRIES TO GET AWAY WITH ALL PSYCHOLOGICAL GAME PLANS JUST TO INTIMIDATE THE JUDGES AT THE COURT. THIS MURDERER SHOULD BE TREATED THE SAME WAY AS A COMMEN CITIZEN FACING THE COURT CHARGES. JUSTICE SHOULD PREVAIL! !!
Sri Wickrema Wednesday, 23 January 2019 06:58 AM
Gota is trying to avoid this case too as usual. But his supporters always boast about his bravery. What a person!
Cobra Wednesday, 23 January 2019 07:19 AM
All these nuts and bolts only in the case of criminals in the stature of Gota and not the common felon!!!
TONY Wednesday, 23 January 2019 08:59 AM
GOTA LOOKING FOR TECHNICAL ISSUES TO EVADE HEARING. IT IS CLEAR THEY HAVE USED PUBLIC FUNDS FOR THEIR PRIVATE MATTER AND SHOULD FACE THE TRIAL
Jesus Wednesday, 23 January 2019 09:45 AM
I hope he gets life sentence n die in a prison cel. And burn in Hell
Dilan Wednesday, 23 January 2019 09:54 AM
he is a permanent problem to mother lanka, take the bugger to the noose.
Mahinda Wednesday, 23 January 2019 10:51 AM
Ungreatful remarks after ending a war of 30 years is not fair.political and personal remarks don’t carry weight.
Vasa Wednesday, 23 January 2019 04:23 PM
Gota is Pseudo nationalist.it was the Sri Lankan forces that won the war.The Rajapakse Family tried to pick pocket the war victory.you cannot hide behind the success of the war and rob public money.no one is above the law.
TONY Thursday, 24 January 2019 12:23 AM
GOTA IS US CITIZEN. SO HE HAS TO BE TRIED IN US. THEREFORE, SL COURTS HAS JURISDICTION TO TRY US CITIZEN
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