Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, who intimidated the Manar Magistrate in 2012 October leading to the first ever strike in the Sri Lankan judiciary tendered an apology to the judiciary and the Magistrate of Mannaer. After the attack, senior lawyers filed a contempt of court application in the Court of Appeal moving to deal with the Minister for Contempt.
When the contempt of court application came up before the Court of Appeal today, Faiz Mustapha appearing for the Minister tendered the apology.
Romesh de Silva PC while setting out the terms of settlement in the Contempt of Court case against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen, paid special tribute to the senior lawyers who were the Petitioners in the case. He praised them for taking a bold step by giving their names to be Petitioners in this application amidst heavy pressure, in order to ensure the application of the Rule of Law and the protection of the independence of the judiciary.
In this case seven senior lawyers instituted proceedings against Minister Rishard Bathiudeen for contempt of court in respect of actions taken by him in Mannar.
When the case was taken up Faiz Mustafa PC raised a preliminary objection that Minister Rishard Bathiudeen does not have to plead to the charge of contempt. This objection was overruled by the Court of Appeal and the appeal made against the said order was dismissed by the Supreme Court. Accordingly Bathiudeen pleaded not guilty to the charge of Contempt of Court.
When the matter came up on the 14th March 2014 (yesterday), Bathiudeen admitted that his phone was used for abusive phone calls made to the Mannar Magistrate and apologized for it. Accordingly terms of settlement were entered and the said terms are set out in full below.
“…Whereas the Petitioners have filed this Application before Your Lordships’ Court solely in order to uphold the dignity and independence of the judiciary in the Republic of Sri Lanka;
AND Whereas this application by seven members of the Bar of Sri Lanka has received wide publicity and the support from the Bar and persons upholding the Rule of Law;
AND Whereas the level of publicity and support has amply and suitably demonstrates and conveyed the high regard and esteem enjoyed by the judiciary of Sri Lanka;
AND Whereas the Respondent regrets that the telephone registered under his name has been used to make the telephone calls which forms the subject matter of these proceedings and apologizes for the unauthorized use of the telephone in the said way;
AND Whereas the Respondent states that he has the highest respect for the members of the judiciary and condemns any act which violates the dignity and esteem of the judiciary or that which violates the independence of the judiciary and apologizes to the Honourable members of the judiciary for the telephone registered under his name being used to make the telephone calls that forms the subject matter of these proceedings;
AND Whereas the Respondent regrets the pain of mind if any caused to A. Judeson Esq, the then Honourable Magistrate of Mannar;
AND Whereas ,in the aforesaid circumstances, the Petitioners are satisfied that the objective of instituting these proceedings , namely to uphold the dignity and independence of the Judiciary have been fulfilled;
AND further whereas the Respondent has subscribed to this motion to confirm the assurances given by him and whereas theAttorney-at-Law for the Respondent too has subscribed to this motion in confirming the assurances given by the Respondent, the Petitioners humbly move to terminate these proceedings…”
Romesh de Silva PC with Ikram Mohammed PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC, Saliya Peiris, J C Weliamuna, Sugath Caldera, Shanaka Cooray, Eraj de Silva and Milhan Mohammed appeared for the Petitioners.
Faiz Mustafa PC with M M Zuhair PC and Hejaaz Hisbullah appeared for the party accused Minister Rishard Bathiudeen.