The de facto Chief Justice exposed himself in the worst possible manner in courts today in the Fundamental Rights case filed by the parents of Ganesan Nimalaruban a prisoner in Vavuniya who died in custody following a riot.
When counsel for the petitioner Saliya Pieris commenced his submissions CJ Mohan Pieris said that the case must be concluded within the day as the victim Nimalaruban was a terrorist who had started the Vavuniya prison riot.
When Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that there was no material before court to prove the victim’s connection to the riot, de facto CJ Pieris indicated he had personal knowledge about the incident.
During the Vavuniya prison riots in June 2012, Mohan Pieris was an advisor to the Ministry of Defence, a position that has repeatedly called into question his right to hold high judicial office given his proximity to powerful members of the ruling regime.
CJ Peiris told court that people have a larger and more important fundamental right to be free from terrorism. Commenting on the United States of America Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice said the US was setting standards on counter terrorism and recently US forces killed a woman driving into White House.
Dismissing the case, Mohan Pieris told the counsel for Petitioner: “Your client will seek asylum after filing this case. “Terrorism must be dealt with strongest possible way just like in Chechnya. Nimalarauban is a terrorist and how else should he be treated? ”
On being contacted a Senior Counsel who did not want to be identified states that according to Commonwealth legal traditions, it is unethical for a judge to use his personal knowledge in determining a case since a case must be heard on its merits as set before the courts. If he had personal knowledge of the case Pieris should have recused himself from hearing the petition, the senior lawyer said.