Recruiting lawyers to Police not within my scope - Minister | Daily News

Recruiting lawyers to Police not within my scope - Minister

The news in media and social media that said Justice Minister Ali Sabry was involved in recruiting 150 Attorneys-at-Law as Assistant Superintendents of Police (ASP) was incorrect, misleading and done with the malicious intention of mud slinging, said Justice Minister Ali Sabry told Parliament yesterday.

He made this observation in response to a query made by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Buddhika Pathirana, who queried if the 150 Attorneys-at-law that the Justice Ministry was planning to recruit to the Police Department as ASPs were the same group of attorneys who the Justice Minister accepted should be recruited as prosecutors to the Police Department. He made this query following the proposal he made that steps should be taken to recruit attorneys to the Police Department as prosecutors in the Magistrate’s Courts as it was more efficient than Police officers acting as prosecutors there.

Minister Ali Sabry thanked MP Pathirana for raising the matter refuted the statement and said that he accepted Pathirana’s proposal of recruiting attorneys to the Police as prosecutors in the Magistrate’s Courts as a conceptual proposal. He added that it was not within his scope to recruit people to the Police or to decide their salaries and wages. He also added that it was a matter of the Police Department and the subject Ministry.

“I have never made any such statement,” Minister Sabry said. “They are circulating incorrect news for the sole purpose of slinging mud.”

MP Pathirana asked if the Justice Minister would admit that the people who seek the service of Sri Lanka Police will be immensely benefited through the appointment of at least one legal professional as a police prosecutor for a magistrate’s court to obtain legal advice and to solve legal disputes of people expeditiously?

Minister Ali Sabry said that he accepted that the concept was commendable. He also said that according to provisions, no attorney can prosecute in a Magistrate’s Court other than those who have been vested with power or assigned by the Attorney General. However in practice by now, the Police is acting as the prosecutor in the Magistrate’s Courts, which is also in line with the provisions. He added according to circumstances, counsels from the Attorney-General’s Department too appear in Magistrate courts as prosecutors. “According to the available sources, there is no possibility for the moment to make such recruitments,” Minister Sabry said.

MP Pathirana also queried if there was a possibility of taking necessary steps to establish the aforesaid new position as it is a novel measure taken in democratic countries to which Minister Sabry said that he queried from the Attorney General (AG) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the proposal in writing. He also said that AG responded that there had been a practice in early 2000 to assign non summary lawyers under the supervision of the AG to act as the prosecutors in Magistrate’s Courts. The programme came to a stand still for lack of funds. He added hence the AG said that the same programme could be resumed or Attorneys could be recruited to the Police. Minister Sabry said that the IGP too maintains a similar view. “President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is of the view that community policing should be developed and that programme too could be carried out by attorneys. However, such measures would be taken in near future by the subject ministries.

Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said that as the former subject Minister and a former Police Officer that although the proposal by MP Pathirana was commendable, he had done it in a manner defaming the Police. MP Pathirana needs to appreciate the Police Service as it had done a commendable service as prosecutors in Magistrate Courts for the past 150 years. He added that one has to appreciate that service too.