Written by Lahiru Fernando
11 Sep, 2015 | 7:31 am
The stance adopted by the Attorney General’s Department over the recent past, with respect to certain high-profile cases, has come under a great deal of scrutiny and public debate.
Social media has been rife with reaction, to the most recent development where the Attorney General in a press release, justified its stance with regard to the cases filed against Avant Garde Security Services Pvt Limited and Kumaran Padmanaban.
The AG’s Department is vested with a diverse role, and with a great responsibility to ensure that justice is meted out. With regard to criminal matters, the AG’s department has the task of evaluating evidence in order to decide whether there are sufficient grounds to indict or discharge a suspect.
In order to reach this conclusion, the Attorney General must work closely with the investigative arm of the state- which may be the Criminal Investigations department or Special Investigations Unit of the Police, as the case may be. This requires both the AG’s department and the investigative officers to work efficiently and expediently, with the main aim of securing justice.
While the AG’s department once came under the Ministry of Justice, under the previous government , it was brought under the purview of the President under one of his portfolios.
Secretary of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka Ajith Pathirana explained to News 1st that this has been reversed and that the AG’s department now functions under the subject minister.
Senior Attorney-at-Law Gomin Dayasri noted that the department had lost the respect of the public after it became politicised in the recent past. He added that this has led to alerted attorneys at the Department from acting independently to their fullest potential.
Speaking specifically on the Avant Garde case, Gomin Dayasiri questioned as to why the Attorney General’s Department was unable to state earlier that prosecutions can be instituted only if there is sufficient and admissible evidence. Adding that the department has been on occassions used against political enemies senior lawyer Gomin Dayasiri emphasised that the department needs to be held accountable for this situation as they did not provide the appropriate instructions to the government
A number of other civil society activists as well as politicians weighed in on the matter.
Watch the full report ..
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