By Colombo Telegraph –
(Second update)The Parliamentary Select Committee report on the motion of impeachment against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake has just been handed over to Parliament by Committee Chairman, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa. The report says three out of five charges (1,4,5) against Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake have been proven at the PSC inquiry held on the impeachment.
Chief Opposition Whip John Amaratunge has requested a debate on the report. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa said the debate would be held in a month after the item is included in the order paper.
The PSC was constituted on 14 November, eight days after the motion of impeachment against Bandaranayake was tabled in Parliament. The Chief Justice appeared before the committee three times before she and her lawyers walked out of proceedings on Thursday citing a lack of faith in the committee’s ability to grant her a fair trial. Yesterday, the four opposition members on the PSC also walked out saying the process was unfair and violated all laws of natural justice.
The report by the PSC is likely to find Bandaranayake guilty on at least three counts. 14 Charges were brought against her in the motion. The report comes in the wake of lawyers for the Chief Justice crying foul over the summoning of witnesses following the walk out by the CJ and the opposition.
Attorney at law and lawyer for Bandaranayake Saliya Pieris said that until the Chief Justice and her counsel walked out of the Select Committee yesterday it was maintained by the Committee that no oral evidence will be led. “Despite our demands to cross examine the witnesses we were not given the list of witnesses or documents and were told that there will be no witnesses called. This same observation has been made by the Opposition Members of the Select Committee today at 2.30 pm. We now find that after the Chief Justice and her lawyers walked out of the Select Committee, the Committee has called for witnesses and led their evidence. We understand that all those witnesses were summoned today (the 7th) after the lawyers walked out. It appears to us that as long as the Chief Justice and her lawyers were present witnesses would not have been called,” he said.
Speaking at the parliament today, Minister De Silva had stated the CJ has been proven guilty of the following three charges against her: the issue concerning the Trillium property, failing to declare certain bank assets and liabilities and being biased against legal action initiated against her husband at the Magistrate’s Court of Colombo in connection with the offences regarding acts of bribery and/or corruption under the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption Act.
The report and the motion will likely be taken up for debate on 8 January when Parliament reconvenes after vacation. The debate on impeachment will be conducted for 10 days.