MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who was sentenced to four years rigorous imprisonment for contempt of court was seen taken to the Pallansena Quarantine Center.
Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana
By Yoshitha Perera
The Supreme Court has yesterday sentenced MP Ranjan Ramanayake to four years rigorous imprisonment for contempt of Court.
The judgement was delivered by a three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira de Abrew, Vijith Malalgoda and Preethi Padman Surasena.
Delivering the verdict, Justice Sisira de Abrew said that the contempt of Court charge had been levelled by the Attorney General against Ranjan Ramanayake.
Meanwhile, Ramanayake will be sent to the Pallansena Quarantine Centre, said Prison Spokesman Chandana Ekanayake.
The case was filed against former State Minister Ranjan Ramanayake over Contempt of Court charges for making defamatory remarks against the Judiciary on August 21, 2017. MP Ramanayake on August 27, 2017 in front of the Temple trees had said, “ Most of those in Sri Lanka are corrupt Judges and corrupt Lawyers. About 95% of them are working for money. They every day protect murderers, corrupt people and drug dealers for money.”
MP Ramanayake further made different statements before the Supreme Court and those recordings were also considered when delivering the verdict. In some of his statements made on December 14, 2017, the Respondent said that “I will not under any circumstances, withdraw the opinion expressed by me. Therefore I told only about these Judges.”
Further on March 23, 2018, he had said, “If the Honourable Court derives self-satisfaction sending me to jail, I will very happily go. I will not withdraw anything what I have said.”
On June 4, 2018, he had said, “As at present I have twenty-one ceases pending against me. I will not withdraw what I have said. On September 5, 2018, MP Ramanayake had again said, “I will never withdraw. Even if they sentenced me to one year, two years, five years, ten years, twenty years or life imprisonment, I maintain what I have said.” Retired Air Force Officer Sunil Perera and Venerable Magalkande Sudatta Thera had filed two petitions in the Supreme Court alleging that such offensive comments could mar public confidence and provide a distorted image of the Judiciary to the people of Sri Lanka.
Based on those complaints, the Attorney General had later served the indictment against Ramanayake before the Supreme Court.
However, in the Court, the charge was read to the Respondent- Ramanayake and an opportunity was given to him to plead guilty to the charge and he pleaded not guilty to the charge. During the proceedings, MP Ramanayake also informed the Court that he had no intention of mentioning of Judges but had spoken about the Lawyers. He also added that his intention was to criticize the former Minister of Justice.
It was also informed to Court that in the statement MP Ramanayake made outside the Temple Trees, he did not want to speak about the Judges but the word ‘Judges’ was slip of the tongue.
When delivering the verdict the three-bench Judges informed directed that although MP Ramanayake says in his evidence that he had no intention to refer to Judges in his initial statement made outside the Temple Trees, his subsequent statements made at several occasions indicated and clearly demonstrated that his intention was to refer to the Judges.
President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran appearing for the Respondent informed the Judges that according to the evidence led before the Court, nothing had been said against the Supreme Court and that therefore the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear and determine the case.
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