Written by Staff Writer
24 Jan, 2020 | 9:50 pm
Colombo (News 1st): A group of lawyers protested against the Attorney General opposite the Colombo Magistrates Court today (Jan 24). Lawyers attached to the Lawyers Association of the Colombo Chief Magistrates Court had organized the protest.
Attorney-at-Law Gunarathne Wanninayake noted that they are attempting to go after judges and lawyers. He said order was issued to arrest High Court Judge Gihan Pillapitiya. He stressed that the Attorney General need not fulfil the responsibility of the police by issuing orders to arrest people.
Wanninayake noted that the responsibility of the Attorney General is to advise the relevant authorities. He said that this is not a political issue, they have started this struggle to ensure the safety of judges and lawyers in this country, however, the Attorney General’s department severely criticizes judgments given by courts and they believe that lawyers should have that right as well.
He noted that on behalf of the entire community of lawyers, they request for this hunt to be halted. He added that they have sent two teams of representatives to meet the Prime Minister and the President.
Meanwhile, Minister Wimal Weerawansa speaking about the Attorney General in Parliament today (Jan 24) noted that Ranjan Ramanayake speaks to the IGP and says put him in for at least an hour, and asks him to speak with the judge. He added that Ramanayake speaks with the heads of the CID and says do it in a way that the bail application of Gammanpila gets rejected. He said that this is how these things have happened.
Minster Weerawansa noted that now it is the same person approved by this so-called independent constitutional council, who is the current Attorney General of the country, Dappula De Livera. He said if that AG ordered to arrest someone back then they would have arrested them.
Weerawansa went onto note;
“Recently he said immediately arrest Gihan Pilapitiya. I don’t know what has happened to the Attorney General. There is a video clip of another Judge who is having a conversation with Ranjan Ramanayake, he was the former Magistrate of Kaduwela. The Attorney General does not issue an order to arrest him. But he orders for the arrest of Judge Gihan Pilapitiya who filed a complaint that Ranjan Ramanayake tried to influence him. Gihan Pilapitiya did not do what Ranjan Ramanayake asked of him. How can you arrest the party who filed the complaint? This same Attorney General was in office for many years. The President issued an order not to arrest Gihan Pilapitiya. If this was allowed to happen, it would have been a massive scar on the judicial system of the country. We cannot stand by while the judicial system of the country is being destroyed. It is true that Rajan Ramanayake demeaned the court system of the country. We need to save the judiciary very carefully. As a government, we have a responsibility to do that.”
Meanwhile, during a media briefing today (Jan 24), several parliamentarians of the ruling party expressed the following views regarding the arrest of MP Ramanayake. State Minister Kanaka Herath noted that the previous regime arrested many individuals based on political reasons. He said they suffered the most due to political vengeance. The State Minister urged them to refrain from arresting anyone without a valid reason.
He said currently they are trying to arrest judges because of these recordings. He urged the responsible authorities to look into this matter properly without taking any harsh decisions. He added that MP Ramanayaka now goes to parliament and says he was trying to catch all the thieves. However, he noted that these phone recordings have now been publicized and the CDs containing the phone recordings have not been submitted to the parliament as yet. He requested the government to refrain from arresting anyone without a valid reason as this may damage the reputation of the government as well. He further requested the Attorney General to look into this properly, before taking any action.
State Minister Dilum Amunugama also speaking regarding the issue noted that these recordings were released only because they were recorded by MP Ramanayaka in the first place. He said that Ramanayake was not a very powerful minister in the previous regime and they are all aware that he was not connected to subject areas such as the police or the judiciary. He said they must now investigate the phone history of the ministers who served under such subject ministeries. He said if a parliamentarian such as Ranjan Ramanayaka can influence the judiciary and police in such a manner, imagine how much the subject ministers could influence.
Speaker of Parliament Karu Jayasuriya confirmed in parliament today (Jan 24) that MP Ranjan Ramanayaka has not yet submitted the CDs containing the controversial voice recordings.
MP Nimal Lanza: I would like to know if a parliamentarian can attend sessions of parliament while in remand custody without an order from the court. Yesterday the deputy speaker said that he did not submit the recordings; he took back the recordings that he gave. It is said that he took the recordings back because those included phone conversations with you and a number of other people. So we would like you to clarify the facts. Was a receipt issued? If a receipt was issued from parliament he can go to court and say that he had submitted all of the voice recordings. This issue should be resolved. So we expect an answer from you on this.
Speaker Karu Jayasuriya: Any parliamentarian has a right to attend sessions of parliament even if they are in remand custody. They do not need the permission of anyone, and this will be the case in the future as well. The second is that the recordings were not handed over to the general secretary. I state this with responsibility. When he was informed of this he had given a note to one of the officials, and he had taken them with him. So parliament has no responsibility for that. I don’t know if there are any of my voice recordings in there because I don’t talk too much. Even if there is something that’s alright. I will look into it. But the recordings were not handed over.
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