22 June, 2018

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A Letter To The Public From A Retired Judge

By B.F.R. Somasighe

I am writing this to the public as a judge who has presided over the affairs of the public for 16 years as a Magistrate and as a District Court Judge. For all those 16 years, my record has been impeccable.

I want to bring to the notice of the public that, due to a certain judgment I gave as a District Court Judge in a civil dispute, which I did to the best of my ability and purely on the basis of the principles of law and justice – all of which I was appointed to uphold -, I have come to a very serious difficulty.

The judgment in this case, which I gave in favour of the defendant, seems to have offended one of the witnesses, who happens to be a Senior Legal Counsel and, to my knowledge, a relative of the former Chief Justice Mohan Pieris. The day I delivered the judgment, it was reported to me by court staff that this gentleman had openly said that he will see to it ‘that I will lose my position as a Judge’.

A month or so later, I was called upon by the Chief Justice and he demanded that I resign from my position. I told him that no charge had been made against me and that there had been no inquiry, and that therefore the proper procedure would be to conduct such an inquiry into any claims before making an appropriate decision. In response, I was talked down to in humiliating language and threatened with losing my position.

Several months later, I was called upon by the Bribery Commission and was asked to submit  details of all my income and assets. I did that immediately, by way of affidavits, and also provided the necessary references. To this date, the Bribery Commission has not informed me that any of the information I have so provided is incorrect or inadequate.

I understand that this inquiry was begun on the basis of an anonymous complaint. I do not know the name or any other details of the complainant, and therefore, I am unable to say what may have motivated such a person and what my relationship to that person could be.

With the beginning of the inquiry, the incremental salary increases given to me in my position as a judge were stopped. I wrote to the Judicial Services Commission giving them all the details, and also wrote to the Bribery Commission and asked them for an inquiry and an immediate exoneration. This was important to me for many reasons. My position, which could have been elevated to the High Court, was affected by this inquiry and, therefore, I had to retire without the usual promotions that were due to me as to any other Judge in the service.

I constantly requested the Bribery Commission and the Judicial Services Commission to bring this matter to an end, either by way of declaring me exonerated, which I know and believe is my due, or otherwise to indict me so that I will be able to prove my innocence in a court of law.

After five years of pleading without any positive result, I filed a Fundamental Rights Application before the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka, and asked for an inquiry on the basis of Article 126 of the Sri Lankan Constitution. This, after all, is the final resort that any citizen, be he a judge or any other person, has.

I was fully aware of the risks involved in filing a fundamental rights case. I knew that it could have dangerous results. I am aware of many people who have been exposed to serious threats and violence by the respondents in some of these cases. In one case, while a fundamental rights petition filed by a young man was being heard, he, his father and his mother were all made to disappear.

My case was called by the Supreme Court on a few occasions. The Respondents purposefully sought dates to obtain advice from the Attorney General.

No objections to my Petition have been filed and none of the facts that I have relied upon have been contradicted by my opponents.

Several months later, I heard that an indictment had been filed against me, although it has not yet been served on me. I don’t know what the charges could be. All that I know is that some charges are reported to have been filed.

My position is that this has been done for one purpose: as a counter action against the Fundamental Rights application that I have filed in the Supreme Court

I believe that the Respondents want to use this indictment in order either to get me to withdraw the Fundamental Rights application that I have made or to delay the hearing of the Fundamental Rights application on the basis that there is a criminal action against me and that the criminal action should be heard first before the Fundamental Rights application.

There is no legal basis at all to delay the Fundamental Rights application simply because a criminal action is pending. In law, the two are very separate types of actions and the matters that the courts have to decide are based on different legal criteria.

One issue is about whether a fundamental rights violation has taken place and the other is about whether a crime has been committed.

I am aware of several judgements that were delivered while criminal actions were pending. If need be, I could give the details of such judgments. However, I am aware that, particularly at the time when Chief Justice Sarath Silva was presiding, there were many cases that were postponed until a criminal trial was held and a few such cases have been pending in the Supreme Court for over ten years because criminal actions, once started, are subjected to the normal delays that are a part of our legal system, and that includes the delays in the appeals and the re-trials. Again, I am able to give details of such cases if it is required.

Therefore, my plea to all, to the judiciary as well as to the public, is to ensure that I will have the benefit of a speedy trial and a speedy hearing of the Fundamental Rights application.

The Fundamental Rights application should be heard irrespective of any issues that may arise in the criminal case, and the criminal case itself should be heard as speedily as possible.

I am aware that the greatest trap that an innocent man could be placed in is to have a fabricated criminal charge filed against him. It makes him a victim of a lengthy trial for may many years to come. It could be ten years or even more, judging by many cases, which I am able to cite.

Therefore, I am bringing to the notice of the public that I, having myself been a judge, have been exposed to one of the gravest problems that any citizen could be exposed to.

I am also letting the public know that when the criminal case is before the courts I will demand a trial by a jury, which is one way of ensuring a day-to-day trial, and that will speed up the trial process.

As a citizen and a judge with a long record of service, I must tell you that there are some things that I am unable to fight:

1.I am unable to fight prolonged delays in a criminal trial

This is a way to destroy a man, his family and everything he stands for, and to irreparably stain his reputation.

I will be helpless in this situation and the denial of justice in this manner is something that, even as a former judge, I know I am simply unable to fight.

2.I also want to inform the public that, from what the law says about equality of arms, I am not in a position to match the powerful people who are trying to victimise me.

Therefore, my plea to the judiciary, the judges who were my fellow colleagues in these long years, to the legal profession and the Bar association, and to the public in general, is this: please do not ignore this as one individual’s problem; this is a problem that affects the very nature of the justice system we have and the way injustice is perpetrated through our system.

I would therefore urge all of you to ensure that the criminal trial that has been initiated against me be held as speedily as possible in the coming few months and that the Fundamental Rights application that I have filed should be heard without any kind of obstruction based on the criminal trial or otherwise.

While I am making this plea for myself, I am also aware that the outcome could be of great use to the public in general.

It is time that we fight against the abuse of the justice system to perpetrate injustice.

Yours truly,

(Signed)…B.F.R.Somasighe………………..

former District Court Judge and Magistrate

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Latest comments

  • 43
    1

    WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO THE FACTS MENTIONED AND THE PURPORTED CRIMINAL CHARGES; THIS CASE SHOULD BE HEARD IN FRONT OF SRILANKAN EQUIVALENT OF A GRAND JURY FOR THE SAKE OF PUBLIC OFFICERS TO CARRY THEIR DUTIES WITHOUT FEAR. THE VERY LETTER GIVES A FEAR IN THE MIND OF A PUBLIC/JUDICIAL OFFICER AND NEEDS TO CLEARED EITHER CLEAR OR OTHERWISE TO EXPEDITIOUS PROSECUTION ON THE CRIMINAL CHARGES.

    • 31
      1

      we all know that during the past regime almost all elements of Justice, all elements of democracy, all elementss of rule of was destroyed by one family along with the power hungry leftists like Vasudeva, Vitharane, Buddhist Fundamentalists like Gnarasa, Wimal weerwanse, deplomats like Dr.Dayan Jeyatilake and justice like Mohan Peries. Unless the nation eliminates these evils there is no future for this beautiful, cultural island. I don’t know whether this government has the will power to deal with those brutal evils.

    • 6
      0

      Like on the west, if Law and order would have been equal to everyone, politicians would not have marched that far as Rascals.

      Not just 5 years ago, Germany s Prez was alleged to have had links with funding bodies before he even became the youngest prez for the country of 83 millions.
      But immediately, he resigned and let the process to reveal his cleanliness. That took subsequent 3 years or so, for all what were being said and done were clear by the investigation.
      Compared to the mountains of crimes allegedly put on the shoulder of Rajaakshe, Germany s prez allegation was just a small fund transaction, him to have had with some unaccepatable parties – and it was prior to his terms.

      Can you imagine ?

      We talk high, we only boast on our achievements and the manner ancient mornachs built up the lakes and how they wondered us with everything, but upto now to have not realized,
      the importance of being aware about the nation can NEVER be shaped up until enforcement of law and order. would not be maintained properly.

      Law makers come and go, nothing like reforms to the progress seem to be making.
      They dont recognize EITHER where and why the folks stay stagnated with long due law reform

      • 2
        1

        “”Like on the west, if Law and order would have been equal to everyone, politicians would not have marched that far as Rascals.””””▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬
        You are old fashioned Yo.Learning cannot be gulped down. Just today in the west the taxi man too admitted that it all depends on the judge; the appointed paid servant.
        Look not at thieves eating flesh, but look at them when they are suffering punishment.- Now look at Mohan Peiris the named liar SA judge “Navi”

      • 2
        0

        “”Germany s prez allegation was just a small fund transaction, him to have had with some unacceptable parties – and it was prior to his terms. Can you imagine ?””

        Sri Lanka is high on corruption and that is to do with the culture not the law. How would you expect German politicians to be so very rich at the end of it all? They do not make it obvious to get caught and circumvent any back tracking beforehand. The Donald did not disclose his tax returns and Theresa did not listen to the judiciary but used privileges and shoved it down parliaments throat- the vicars daughter the bigot. ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬▬……..
        you are talking of a west you heard but not a west that you have to read, travel and debate about to know that we all are different and not equal as the PC world of the west wants us to think and that money is surreal – barter is the thing that is best. each time the dollar comes in or goes out rothschild , goldman sac’s gets 22%
        The goat soma has no choice when in the jaws of the wolf.

    • 12
      1

      Sir,

      That disgraced guy in the photo must be Chief Justice Don Corleone. Sri Lanka’s Judiciary is nothing more than a mafia mob.

      Cheers!

    • 1
      3

      He is very amusing to say the least a man off a corrupt system-A mouse-catching dog steps on the cats’ paws. Just like our 43 woman CJ Shirani who cooly faded away because at the end she was found to be greedy- eka walle pol. ……………………………………
      Laws control the lesser man; right conduct controls the greater one.

  • 9
    14

    when you were a judge in how many cases did you give long dates to greedy lawyers

    • 16
      0

      The writer opens out for us a picture, with broader implications, of the links among spineless persons at high levels by which the governance of this country has become dysfunctional. It ties up with the deterioration of professional ethics in administration and other fields, apparently distinct from law, as engineering, the environment and the failure of the UGC to maintain standards in our universities – as though to create an illusion that, in this lawless culture, private universities is the panacea for the ills of our education. Unfortunately, political discussion centres on the divisive issue of devolution, when the crucial one is the rule of law. Too many people right across the political spectrum are comfortable with status quo.

  • 9
    0

    Where is that Law symbolical lady carry da impartiality of scale ???

    so if judges are facing this what abt normal citizen ??????

    when this country get freedom of law and other freedoms under umbrella of so call democratic scenario ??

    miss using of powers vested to superiors

  • 2
    9

    I thought all these injustice have been eliminated after Yahapalana Justice took over…. Yahapalana boss, Bodhi Sira’s first act was to put the knife in to the CJ Mohan Peiris, calling him a Rajapaksa man …..I thought it was unfair because I assumed that Peiris was a fair man……. But this proves me wrong, if Somasinghe is telling the Truth…n……Why doesn’t the same Bodhi Sira prosecute the ex CJ for threatening this Judge for giving a judgement in his own court…Who is the Senior Counsel who seems more powerful than the Yahapalana CJ and his court… One would have thought the Yahapalana justice is better……Now what I worry about is poor Gnanissara , and Gota baya and Amraweera .. Can they expect proper Justice in Jahapalana courts?…………………………………….Sorry my Elders asked me to mention Suppiah, Baby Nona , Charli Aiya and Karthelis ..too if they end up in a Yahapalana court for stealing a Jack fruit or a Neighbour’s Chook…

    • 1
      0

      sumane

      “I thought all these injustice have been eliminated after Yahapalana Justice took over…. Yahapalana boss, Bodhi Sira’s first act was to put the knife in to the CJ Mohan Peiris, calling him a Rajapaksa man “

      but he did not put the knife into the man who has the rajapakshe name and is the minister.All the civil society are asking for him and sagala to be kicked out.

      • 0
        0

        Don’t worry Shankar…….UNP Gun , young Senaratna has taken cue from the Civil Society and promised the Island, ( or it it DM ) that he will ensure both Rajapaksa and Sagala are kicked out very very soon…….. Exactly the same way he kicked out Galleon Ravi… May be the sacking is now getting delayed, because his God father suddenly got ill …….

  • 10
    0

    I am so sorry for our judiciary system and our country , if a retired DCJ Somasighe says ” I will be helpless in this situation ” I am unable to fight prolonged delays in criminal trial “
    What more can we talk of our maggots infested courts ? The passport and the National ID of a criminal MP goes missing from the court house safe ! Oh dear isle of Lanka, bring the foreign lawyer s from anywhere and help these people suffering under the nose of scale carrying half naked effigy.
    Shame on Sri Lanka and it’s rulers. All the Rogues are still playing openly with people most in same places. Weliamuna reports hidden from the President, to protect friends and thieves. Let’s all do bodhi pooja to come out of this curse. These are serious holes in the system.

  • 7
    0

    how come the former CJ has not been indicted on the dockyard affair.Nagananda let him off the hook after filing the case against dockyard.naga ,now you can see why i said at that time to you in my comment that this bugger should have been locked up.The evidence against him for interference in the dockyard case was insurmountable but you decided to just get a fine only from the company.

    also this arrogant bastard said that ekneligoda was in france.no charges against him for contempt of court for this blatant lie.If he is not locked up he will do a lot of damage in the future.If the judicial system can’t handle these type of buggers then a contract should be given out extra judicially for justice for the citizens of this country and for people like this poor judge who has gone through hell.

  • 6
    0

    CT thank you very much for publishing this.moe than 5 years this man did not get justice.Only through such publicity he can get some justice it seems in this rotten filthy country.Upright people have to leave the country or face hell here if they do their job according to their principles.Only bastards like the former CJ who told ranil he will give any judgements he wants can thrive here.

  • 2
    0

    Honesty and integrity is gone to dogs. When people get more power as a Judicial Officer, Politician, Medical officer or in any other field, in my mind they must be more humble. They are all paid by the public purse and all of them are servants of the people and the people are their masters. If they keep that in mind and work we can sort out many difficulties and take the country forward. Today’s mentality is to get to the top by hook or by crook.

  • 8
    0

    This is the legal system that our Gamarale Sirisena tells the world to trust and let them judge the human rights infringement on minorities. Is this man so shameless?

    • 3
      0

      Diyawanna cant remain gamarala style, must have some intense education to recognize and fearlessly cast out religious and ethnic fanatics, with or without robes. Constitutional equality means secular. How has placing a religion above others done any good for SL except misuse for terror and corruption. Meditation and no office work, and who will govern? Fire, floods, viruses better killers than bullets.

    • 0
      0

      This is the reason why I did not agree with you guys at the begining.

      No proper and reliable law and order systems yet in the country. Even after resolutions were made on to improvement of it.

      We the peace loving sinhalaya should give this a big voice finally to see, Rajapakshes are to be marched to Hageu courts.

      At least something big should work let alone to see it happening today.
      Not a single person who perpetrated high crimes have even been investigated.
      Rajapakshe s wife was alleged to have mediated in the murder of Thadjudeen onthat night.
      But not a single word was exchanged on this.

      So Justice system is FULLY dependent on men in govt, not to have taken the actions yet.

      If I were, Thajudeen s mother, I would have killed Rajapakshes one behind the other for the crime they made, since i know nothing happened serving the LONG due justice

  • 8
    0

    and they say to the international community that the srilankan judiciary can judge the war crimes . what joke would it be for a high court judge who him self is trapped in the web of POWER , MONEY , POLITICS , etc tea.

  • 2
    0

    Very sorry “My Lord”, “Swaamini”. There is no relief under the present system of Governance. If you do wish to join the struggle for a CHANGE based mostly on “Common Sense”, please feel free to do so. That will be the ONLY solution available. You can contact Mr. Nagananda Kodithuvakku.

  • 4
    0

    This is the very justice system we are comfortable to see delivering justice victims of war crime. If this the fate of a judge who is a Sinhalese, what to expect in the cases involving ordinary folks? The system is a joke, just serving to the political masters, who let the bribery commission to go after those rebel against corruption, what an irony. We all should be ashamed of. In a way, if you bought a law degree after Web browsing during the time of examination in a privilege a/c room, this all what happens in the courts make sense. Some still believe SL is a fully functioning democratic country.

  • 2
    0

    This public letter exposes the malaise that affects our public life. If the Chief Justice behaves in this fashion at the behest of a senior lawyer, what chance of justice is there for the common man.

    Ideally, the Judicial Services Commission, which is vested with powers to ensure the independence of the judiciary, should have acted in this matter. The Attorney General has competence to end any criminal trial. Every justice has original jurisdiction in such matters both to terminate the criminal prosecution as well as to order an inquiry as to why this judge was subjected to such torment. Justice in Sri Lanka has been brought into contempt so many times over. Some one has to take a stance. All these officials are guilty of complicity through omission to act. What respect can we have for the so called Lordships of the Supreme Court, judicial eunuchs, sweating in the heat in their artificial horsehair wigs.

    It is good that this matter has been brought into the public. The fact that the public is aware hopefully gives protection to Mr Somasinghe. It must be brought to the knowledge of the International Commission of Jurists and other international groups so that they could take up this case.

  • 2
    0

    Sri Lanka is a country Governed by Corrupt politicians. As long as these corrupt, politicians are in power nothing will ever change!

  • 2
    0

    Sorry; I have nothing but empathy for you. Sri Lanka is a hellhole to the righteous. I wonder if an appeal to the President would initiate a breakthrough, – that is if you catch him in a good mood!

  • 0
    0

    There has always been hypocrisy & corruption instigated by politicians as far as I can remember (that is since Mrs B’s time in the 70s) but in a very short period of time, this cancer has spread exponentially, thanks mainly to the efforts of the Rajapakse regime. The lack of professionalism among the so called educated, particularly, those in medical, law enforcement & judicial systems is pathetic. The deterioration of the education system is to be blamed, with the current bunch of corrupt yob politicians ‘aiding & abetting’. It’s all about passing exams by any means before going out to the world to make easy money while ethics, integrity & justice are limited to mere words in the dictionary. Welcome to the dog eat dog world of ‘Yahapalanaya’.

    • 0
      0

      The SL judiciary became debased and disfunctional from the day the former President of the country JRJ gave a nod and a wink to his thugs and hooligans to throw stones on the residences of judges who gave reasoned judgments according to the law.
      His successor MaRa then went ahead further and had a CJ impeached by a Parliamentary select committee totally subservient to his whims. Now there is a namesake of his holding office as Minister of Justice who takes orders from him in the so called ‘Yahapalanaya’ government that is headed by an incompetent Gamarala and his lethargic PM.
      Unless the people of the country take a stand and decide enough is enough and take control of the situation there is no hope for the judiciary.

  • 2
    0

    Judiciary consist of humans and so is frail. This is the first time a retired judge is airing a serious grievance. Unfortunately the structure has evolved in which meaningful investigation can be stifled. Remember how the then AG made it impossible for the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) of 2007 to function. They resigned in 2008. The silver lining is a retired judge going public. He cannot expect justice to prevail

  • 2
    0

    I get a vomitish feeling whenever I see the picture of Mohan Pieris.
    CT please refrain from publishing picture of this highly corrupt, dirty criminal Judge who should be behind bars by now.
    I guarantee this guy will rot in hell.

  • 1
    0

    Shanker

    Your accusation is unfair and also unfounded.

    The case filed against the CIABOC in the Supreme Court (SC/Writs/03/2015) in which Mr Mohan Peiris was also a respondent. As you claim it was withdrawn later (on 19th Nov 2015) but for a valid reason.

    In the said Writ Application there was request made to the Court for an Order against the CIABOC to initiate a formal investigation against Mr Mohan Peiris who was charged for corruption for abusing the office of the AG to favour the Colombo Dockyard Co.

    Whilst the matter was in progress in the Court, on 07th August 2015 the Company conceded the liability and a paid all Customs duties) and in addition paid a penalty of ten million rupees imposed on the company. And at the same time CIABOC also initiated a formal inquiry against Mr Mohan Peiris.

    In that situation I believe any reasonable person would understand there was no ground to proceed with the case as the purpose of filing the action was served.

    .

    • 0
      0

      According to the convoluted logic by Nagananda, If someone defrauds the state and later return the funds, no legal action is necessary because the money is reimbursed? Law is an Ass indeed.

  • 4
    0

    Our sympathies are with the victimised retired judge who, even under the present regime of ‘good governance’ is not done justice.

    The previous familial regime did injustice and denied justice to many who opposed them for genuine reasons. The former de facto CJ was brought in through back doors to protect the corrupted regime and its cohorts and many of them are still in power hindering and blocking the investigations of money laundering and corruptive actions of them.

    Even a judge is feared to do his legal duties and at the point of losing his promotions and increments long after the wrong doers have lost their power of authority. If that is the case for people at the realm of judiciary what can ordinary people do or expect fair treatment or justice from any government? The retired judge would not have appealed to the public if he had any expectation or hope that he would be served justice.

    The present president must start doing his duties beyond appointing and reshuffling good-for-nothing ministers and junior ministers.

  • 1
    0

    It is time for the Sinhala Nation to do some soul-searching. The Sinhala Only Act (19560), whatever the merits in the mind of its authors, took away the Tamils from the United country and made them “the other” In various ways, since then, indigenous Tamils were forced to drift away to the point where, left with little alternative, some of the educated, unemployed youth among them were forced to take to arms. The 30 year old War followed. The country has lost its necessary unity, her financial and other resources have been brazenly stolen away by “political leaders” from both major Sinhala parties and the country is nearly bankrupt now. What is not widely known is the country has been physically mortgaged to scheming foreign powers.

    The once respected form of governance has gradually been destroyed. The most regrettable is the collapse of the process of Law and Order – once the envy of the
    region. The intriguing case of this judge is a testimony of the extent to which our system has collapsed. If a senior Judge is in a situation where he thirsts for justice imagine the plight of the poor and the disadvantaged in the judicial process.

    It is time those who cry from the top of the roof they saved the rata and aagama for 2,500 years now to come out in the open and show their patriotism and courage. Trouble is most of them are in the clutches of political rogues, drug-traffickers and other criminals trading under the name of the aagama.

    Backlash

  • 2
    0

    It’s no point writing amongst your selfs, the plight and fear of the state of the Nation, but be open and honest and write to the UN HRC and to the Internatioal Community to stop all assistance to this rogue ” good governance” government, until a full investigation and implementation of the HRC resolution 30/L1 by foreign judges, prosecutors and lawyers are fully compeleted, which also includes the judiciary. The last thing we want is that judges are gone missing in action.

    If this judge is in fear, what more is left in a united unitary corrupted spineless system.

    At least now the majority Sinhalese are beginning to understand that the flood is coming to surround them. Wake up.

  • 1
    0

    Gamini,
    Content of your statement is absolutely misleading. Further to the initiation of the Court case the Dockyard matter was reopened by Customs after more than a decade. At the Customs Inquiry held into the matter the company was found guilty and a penalty of 10 million rupees was imposed on the Company. It was concluded with the Customs levies and the penalty was duly recovered.

    The man behind this organised fraud, Mohan Peiris, who abused the office of the Attorney General and the Chief Justice to favour the company was not allowed to go scot free.

    He was charged for Corruption before the CIABOC for committing the offence of corruption and the members of the CIABOC now charged for before the Supreme Court for not performing their legal duty as required by law to bring Mohan Peiris to book.

    In my humble viewpoint this is the best one can do in the public interest. And I invite you (withoutmaking unfounded misleading statements) show the people how you have SACRIFICED your time and energy for the PUBLIC GOOD as a concerned public spirited citizen please.

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