CA stays Trial-at-Bar hearing against Karannagoda, AG objects | Daily News


CA stays Trial-at-Bar hearing against Karannagoda, AG objects

The Court of Appeal yesterday issued an Interim Order staying proceedings against the former Navy Commander, Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda in a case filed against him at Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar.

Court of Appeal President Justice A.H.M.D. Nawaz and Justice Sobhitha Rajakaruna made this order pursuant to a writ petition filed by Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda challenging the indictments filed against him at Colombo High Court Trial-at-Bar.

This Interim Order will be effective until the final determination of this writ petition. The respondents were directed to file objections before July 22.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda and 13 others in connection with alleged abduction, torture, extortion and conspiracy to murder 11 persons in 2008 and 2009.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva appearing for former Navy Commander submitted to court that there is no iota of evidence to prove his client’s involvement into the abduction and murdering of these eleven persons. He further said CID investigations conducted into these incidents for a period over 10 years have not found evidence against his client even though police had interrogated about 150 persons. He further submitted to court that his client had been named as a suspect solely based on a statement made by former Navy Commander Travis Sinniah on August, 2017.

Silva informed court that grave and irreparable loss and damage could be caused to his client if an interim order was not granted. Meanwhile, Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanna appearing for the Attorney General raised objections to this writ petition stating that the Court of Appeal has no jurisdiction to intervene into High Court trial proceedings. He contended that the court should not grant any relief to the petitioner since he has not come before courts with clean hands. Jayamanna alleged that the petitioner had repeatedly ignored the summons issued by Trial-at-Bar.

In his writ petition, Karannagoda stated that the interest of Nishantha Silva who conducted investigations was to embarrass Prime Minister Rajapaksa and President Rajapaksa on the basis that the petitioner is perceived to be a close associate of theirs.

The petitioner also states that the said Nishantha Silva had offered to release suspects under criminal investigation if they would testify against the Petitioner and the former Secretary, Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The petitioner stated that Nishantha Silva had acted with evident bias and mala fides against the Petitioner.Karannagoda states that the said Nishantha Silva is now a fugitive from justice and is said to have claimed political asylum in Switzerland.The petitioner maintained that he is being victimized for political reasons and as a political vendetta.

He further stated that there is no evidence whatsoever to charge him of an offence.

The Petitioner states he verily believes that officers of the Attorney General’s Department have entered minutes stating that the Petitioner cannot be indicted on the evidence.

He further states that the entire investigation of the petitioner inter alia by Nishantha Silva was characterized by malice and mala fides and was motivated by improper considerations including political considerations.

The Petitioner maintained that in the circumstances, the Petitioner’s right to fair trial has been irrevocably violated.On January 24, the Court served indictments on 13 accused including Navy intelligence officials in connection with the abduction, torture, extortion and conspiracy to murder eleven persons in 2008 and 2009.

Accordingly, indictments consisting of 667 counts under Penal Code were served on thirteen accused except former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda who has been named as the fourteenth accused.

Romesh De Silva PC with Sugath Caldera and Niran Anketel instructed by Sanath Wijewardane appeared for the petitioner. Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne appeared for the Attorney General.

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