PCoI cautions former President, his personal secretary, auxiliary bishops over media releases | Daily News


 

PCoI cautions former President, his personal secretary, auxiliary bishops over media releases

The Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) probing the Easter Sunday attacks yesterday cautioned former President Maithripala Sirisena, his personal secretary and the three Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo to refrain from issuing controversial press releases regarding certain statements made by witnesses at the Commission.

The Chairman of the Commission stated that the Commission had unanimously decided to issue such a warning in view of all the submissions made to the Commission regarding media commentary. The Commission also directed them to refrain from issuing any press releases regarding certain statements made by witnesses in the Commission.

The Presidential Commission to Investigate the Easter Attack has been set up according to Article 9 of the Constitution and the Commission has the jurisdiction to act in accordance with the Constitution.

 The Chairman of the Commission also pointed out that this kind of a behaviour could be punished as contempt of commission and that the penalty could be imposed by the Court of Appeal under Section 10 of the Constitution.

The Commission has instructed former President Maithripala Sirisena to listen to the evidence presented before the Commission. Opportunity has been given to cross-examine the testimony of a witness. Also, since the inception of this Commission, there has been legal representation on behalf of Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.However, there is no need to issue press releases. Announcing the order, the Commission’s presiding judge warned witnesses not act in this manner.

The former President’s personal secretary, in a letter issued on Sunday (20), had alleged that former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando has been maliciously lying before the Commission.

In the meantime, the three Auxiliary Bishops of Colombo had released a statement dismissing the controversial testimony made by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando that Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith could have been aware of the Easter attacks beforehand.

Accordingly, the PCoI issued notices on the former President, his personal secretary and three Auxiliary Bishops on Wednesday to appear before the PCoI on Easter Attacks yesterday.

However, former President Maithripala Sirisena did not appear before the Commission while President’s Counsel Maithree Gunaratne appeared for him.