Ajith Prasanna a vocal supporter of President Gotabaya Rajapaka in a press conference attacked several magistrates, prosecutors claiming that they have been acting under political influence in executing their duties and functions in their respective roles.
Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne, Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake, Udesh Ranathunga and the Mt Lavinia magistrate Lochana Abeywickrema were specifically named by him at this press conference, to have been politically influenced.
He further claimed that senior prosecutor of the Attorney General’s Department Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara and Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris have been working in collusion with the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to prevent certain suspects from being granted bail unreasonably and have conducted the investigations in a biased manner.
“All of these officials haven’t been conducting themselves in this manner just for nothing. They have done so with the intention of getting certain positions, promotions and for payments through the Tamil diaspora,” Ajith Prasanna claimed.
Addressing media, Ajith Prasanna claimed that he makes these statements with responsibility although no details or evidence was provided as to how he came into this information or whether he has complained to relevant authorities such as the Judicial Service Commission or the Attorney General about the conduct of these law officials that he named.
Retired Army official who is currently a practising lawyer has been appearing in politically sensitive cases and claiming that the former government was on a witch-hunt to arrest war heroes which he calls ‘Ranawiru Dadayama’.
Colombo Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne at a former occasion complained to the Supreme Court on the conduct of Ajith Prasanna for misleading court and making false statements. Magistrate Jayaratne sought to this after Ajith Prasanna appeared on behalf of a suspect, Navy Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias Navy Sampath without being retained by the said accused in relation to the abduction of 11 youth by Navy.
Making false representations he informed court that he was retained by the suspect however when the court questioned Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi he denied this claim.
Prior to this incident Ajith Prasanna was seen in the Mt. Lavinia magistrate courts premises making false statements when hearing was taking place against Amal Karunarathne former chief of staff of Sri Lanka army in relation to the abduction and assault of senior Journalist Keith Noyahr. CID complained to the Mr. Lavinia Magistrate of his conduct.
Senior Counsel Viran Corea, flagging concerns on twitter over the allegations levelled at these judges and prosecutors, said that no proper lawyer attacks judicial officers for deciding cases according to law on facts placed before them after hearing both sides. He adds that likewise, no proper lawyer attacks fellow members of the bar for arguing a court case without holding back for any client (whether government or private party).
“By the above time-honoured yardstick, this gentleman evidently scores a major fail as a real, proper lawyer,” Corea tweeted in reference to Ajith Prasanna.
Ajith Prasanna also attacked Senior Lawyers, Upul Kumarapperuma and Sudarshana Gunawardana for appearing on behalf of the victim in the Swiss embassy abduction case.
Taking to Twitter President’s Counsel Saliya Pieris said that “every client has the right to be represented by a lawyer which is a fundamental premise in a civilised country. Lawyers have a right to represent their client and cannot be harassed and intimated by people opposing their client”.
He further called on the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) to take a “strong and principled stand” against the verbal abuse on lawyers taking up certain matters.
“If not, there will come a day when politicians, gang bosses, thugs, partisan media and other interested parties will coerce and harass lawyers and try to prevent them from appearing for the cause of their clients,” Pieris wrote. (By Anuruddha Singgapuli)