The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has written to the Chief Justice requesting him to carry out an investigation into the conduct of Gangodawila Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne, amidst allegations that he had meted out special treatment to Additional Magistrate Thilina Gamage who is currently out on bail for allegedly owning an elephant without a license.
BASL sources said that several allegations have been leveled against Wijeratne, who is a close associate of Gamage. “On June 2, Gamage appeared before the Gangodawila Magistrate Court presided by Wijeratne over the elephant issue, however even though he was the offender he had received special treatment where he was allowed to sit in the judge’s chambers, as well as use the lift reserved for the judge,” sources told Colombo Telegraph.
The BASL’s letter has called on the Chief Justice to inquire into the matter and take action if necessary. “Such incidents, if true, can lead to an erosion of public confidence, and the BASL is concerned about meting out special treatment to offenders, no matter what position they hold,” the sources said.
They noted that in the event the offender was a normal citizen then such treatment would never have been given out, and hence if the allegations were true, then it was wrong for Wijeratne to treat Gamage in such a manner, when he was the offender in the case.
Gamage was granted bail on June 2, for allegedly possessing a baby elephant without a valid license.
Gamage has also been suspended by the Judicial Service Commission due to the ongoing investigation. According to sources Gamage should have been remanded for his offence, but was instead granted bail by Wijeratne who was the judge in the case.
In a similar case in March this year, Uduwe Dhammaloka was remanded for allegedly possessing a baby elephant without a license, when he was produced before court. ( By Munza Mushtaq © Colombo Telegraph)