Thalatha condemns and rejects Gammanpila’s baseless allegations | Daily News


Thalatha condemns and rejects Gammanpila’s baseless allegations

Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorale yesterday condemned and rejected allegations made by Udaya Gammanpila MP in Parliament that an officer attached to the US Embassy in Sri Lanka had taken several Sri Lankan judges for a seminar in the US with the intention of interfering with the affairs of the Court.

The government rejects and condemns the recent comments made by Member of Parliament Udaya Gammanpila in Parliament on May 8, 2019 that contained baseless allegations against Sri Lanka’s independent judicial system and threats directed at a foreign diplomat.

“I vehemently deny his comments and such attacks are dangerous and unacceptable” the Minister said in a media release.

Minister Athukorale explained, the Department of Justice in the USA has extended mutual assistance to our judicial system in many ways. Many other countries, not solely the United States, offer this kind of partnership to Sri Lanka. Many Sri Lankans, including Members of Parliament, have benefited from similar exchanges. Likewise, Supreme Court, Court of Appeal, and High Court judges have attended such programmes. These engagements are carried out in a spirit of cooperation and mutual respect.

In this backdrop MP Gammanpila’s attempt could be seen as distorting information for political gain.

The Minister also said that the US official mentioned by Gammanpila, Patrick Ehlers has taken the initiative in organizing workshops for the Sri Lankan Judiciary.

“Accordingly, Judges comprising of two batches were invited to USA in August 2018 and April 2019 respectively for workshops on best practices for addressing white collar criminal cases. As the purpose of establishing the Permanent High Courts at Bar is to hear and determine cases pertaining to misuse of public funds, corruption and money laundering etc., the Judges sitting in these Courts were attending the workshop on the recommendations being made by the Chief Justice”.

“Ehlers has also organized a workshop for 65 High Court Judges at the Taj Samudra Hotel in December 2018. Moreover, a batch of officials attached to the Attorney General’s Department is to proceed to the USA in a few weeks to attend a workshop”.

Udaya Gammanpila, MP, has misled the Parliament by stating that he possesses a recording in which, court proceedings of a case before the Permanent High Courts at Bar is being discussed. Obviously, with the support of the Parliament privileges, the MP has attempted to make a baseless statement of this nature with the intention to committing contempt to the Judiciary and the Judges”.

“In the circumstances, insult levelled against the Judges, damages caused to the independence of the Judiciary and for the inconvenience that may have caused to Patrick Ehlers who has immensely supported the entire tour, it is advisable if the alleged voice recording would be surrendered to the Speaker or the Chief Justice or Judicial Service Commission so that the actual facts to this incident may be disclosed”.

“On behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka and the Judiciary, I regret any pain or inconvenience which it may have caused to Patrick Ehlers, Legal Consultant attached to the Department of Justice in the American Embassy.

“Udaya Gammanpila’ baseless statements are unsuccessful attempts to destroy the trust being placed in the Judiciary,” the Minister said. 

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