Just two days after President Maithripala Sirisena unconstitutionally appointed Deepali Wijesundera as the Acting President of the Court of Appeal for the third time a crucial Rajapaksa case will come before the highly controversial judge today.
Lawyers for former secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa have filed a writ application in the Court of Appeal in a bid to the trial against him at the Permanent High Court to try corruption cases.
The case is expected to come up for support in Court room 303 before Acting President of the CA Deepali Wijesundera and Arjun Obeysekere.
Wijesundera was the High Court Judge who ruled on the infamous White-Flag trial that convicted former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka to rigorous imprisonment.
She also presided over the frivolous trial of Journalist J.S. Tissanayagam, and convicted him of offences under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, sentencing him to 20 years in rigorous imprisonment.
Wijesundera’s long term affiliations with Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family are well known, with the former President reportedly having signed as a witness in her daughter’s wedding and gifting the judge’s daughter a car as a wedding gift.
The constitutional council has rejected Wijesundera’s name for president of the court of Appeal three times but President Sirisena has repeatedly sent her name in for the post. The Rajapaksa family is desperate to ensure Wijesundera is eventually promoted to the SC.
Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the first accused in the D.A. Rajapaksa museum case where he has been indicted on charges of misappropriating state funds to the tune of Rs 31 million in order to build a mausoleum and museum to his parents in Medamulana in 2013.
Preliminary objections filed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s counsel Romesh De Silva PC challenging the jurisdiction of the Permanent High Court on corruption to hear the case were rejected by the three-judge bench in a hard-hitting 20 page order.
The former Defence Secretary’s lawyers have since filed an appeal at the Supreme Court seeking to overturn the PHC order. The appeal will have to be heard by a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court since it was made by a permanent trial-at-bar.
The D.A Rajapaksa memorial case marks the first time Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ever been indicted in a court of law, Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that while the Attorney General has been cited as a respondent in the case, notice had not been issued on the Department as of late Thursday night.
The Court of Appeal has already granted an order once preventing Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s arrest in the D.A. Rajapaksa case. The order was granted ex-parte after the AG was not noticed to appear and the judges ruled without hearing objections from the State.
De Silva PC regularly manages to obtain interim relief from judges of the superior courts without officially noticing the Attorney General (By Ramani Bulathgamuwa)