A contempt case filed in December 2012 against Daily News Editor Rajpal Abeynayake by Dr. Sunil F. A. Coorey, a senior lawyer for writing defamatory articles against Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake during the impeachment saga has been controversially put aside in the Supreme Court Registry without hearing, Colombo Telegraph is able to reveal today.
Case No. SC (Contempt) 2/2012 was filed by Dr. Sunil Coorey, a senior lawyer with over 40 years experience, an expert in the Administrative Law field and author of several books. He says clearly in his petition dated 20.12.2012, that he has filed the petition, to protect the reputation and independence of the judiciary, given that several articles by Rajpal Abeynayake in the Daily News that are forwarded with the petition sought to interfere with the due administration of justice, in as much as the judiciary is ridiculed and scandalized in the public eye.
Investigations by Colombo Telegraph reveal that the case was taken up in the Supreme Court few times. On the final occasion the case was taken up, the bench was headed by de facto Chief Justice Mohan Pieris who had by then begun to function as Chief Justice, after Chief Justice Bandaranayake was illegally removed, drawing widespread local and international condemnation. The counsels for Dr. Coorey had requested for a date to support the petition in court, after all the sitting judges had been shown the case file by the Registrar. Pieris had then given a date as the date to take up the petition in open court. However when the date came up, Dr. Coorey’s lawyers found that the petition was not listed in the Supreme Court at all. Inquiries from the Supreme Court Registrar resulted in the response that it has been decided by the Supreme Court judges, not to proceed with the petition. This was done without allowing the petitioner (Dr. Coorey) to be heard on why the case should be taken forward to protect the independence of the judiciary.
According to several legal experts contacted by Colombo Telegraph, the petition needed to be taken up before the Supreme Court and properly considered. De facto Chief Justice Pieris, as direct beneficiary of the so-called impeachment should not have played any role in the handling of the petition. Since the petition has not been properly dealt with, it remains possible for the case to be taken up someday in the future, according to Natural Justice principles.
Colombo Telegraph has now obtained and publishes the full petition by Dr. Sunil F. A. Coorey, which points out that it behoves the Supreme Court to take steps for Abeynayake to be punished for contempt and struck off the roll of Attorneys at Law.
Read the petition here; SC Contempt Application 2-2012 (Sunil Coorey v Rajpal Abeynayake)