Ranjan gets 4 years RI for Contempt of Court | Page 2 | Daily News

Ranjan gets 4 years RI for Contempt of Court

SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake gesturing to the media before being taken away to the Pallansena quarantine centre after his conviction yesterday. Picture by Thushara Fernando
SJB MP Ranjan Ramanayake gesturing to the media before being taken away to the Pallansena quarantine centre after his conviction yesterday. Picture by Thushara Fernando

The Supreme Court yesterday convicted Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Gampaha District Parliamentarian Ranjan Ramanayake for the offence of Contempt of Court and sentenced him to a term of four years Rigorous Imprisonment (RI).

The Supreme Court Registrar was directed to issue a warrant committing Ramanayake to prison to a term of four (4) years RI.

He was charged for committing the offence of Contempt of Court punishable under Article 105 (3) of the Constitution when he made a statement on August 21, 2017 outside Temple Trees.

Ramanayake had admitted in his evidence that he said the following words when he made the statement in question. “The majority in Sri Lanka are corrupt Judges, corrupt lawyers. They work for money.”

The Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Vijith Malalgoda and Justice Preethi Padman Surasena unanimously affirmed the rule served on Ramanayake and held that the charge of Contempt of Court levelled against him has been proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Ranjan Ramanayake admitted in his evidence he made a statement saying the majority of Sri Lankan judges and lawyers are corrupt and work for money.

The rule was read to the respondent by the Supreme Court Registrar on April 8, 2018. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He was charged for Contempt of Court for making the following statement. “The majority of [judges] in Sri Lanka are corrupt judges. There are corrupt lawyers. About 95%. They work for money. They protect murderers, corrupt people and drug dealers for money every day.”

In addition, Ranjan Ramanayake had made several other statements outside the Supreme Court building.

On December, 14, 2017 Ranjan Ramanayake said the following words. “I will not, under any circumstances, withdraw the opinion expressed by me. Therefore I told only these Judges.”

On March, 23, 2018 respondent Ranjan Ramanayake made the following words. “If the Honourable Court gets some self satisfaction to conclude the proceedings with a jail sentence for me, I will very happily go. I will not withdraw anything that I have said.”

On June, 4, 2018 respondent Ranjan Ramanayake said the following words: “As at present I have 21 cases. I will not withdraw what I have said.”

On June, 18, 2018 the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake had said the following words. “I will never withdraw. I maintain the opinion that I am correct.”

On September, 5, 2018 he had said the following words: “I will never withdraw. Even if they sentenced me to one year, two years, five years, ten years, twenty years or Life Imprisonment, I maintain what I have said.”

During the inquiry, President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran appearing for the respondent questioned Ranjan Ramanayake if his intention was not to mention about Judges as to why he made a statement on December 14, 2017 stating that he would not withdraw what he said earlier. Ramanayake then said that his statement made on August 21, 2017 has some truth when the statements made by former Chief Justices were considered. He again said that it was not his intention to refer to Judges when he made the statement on August 21, 2017 outside Temple Trees.

He stated in his evidence that on December 14, 2017, March 23, 2018, June 4, 2018, June 18, 2018 and October 5, 2018 he mentioned about good Judges such as Chief Justice Neville Samarakoon and the assassinated HC Judge Sarath Ambepitiya but these portions of his statements had been removed by Hiru TV.

Ranjan Ramanayake further stated in his evidence that on August 21, 2017 when he made the statement outside the Temple Trees, he did not want to speak about Judges but the word ‘Judges’ slipped from his mouth.

The Supreme Court held that although Ranjan Ramanayake mentioned in his evidence that he had had no intention to refer to Judges in his statement made on August 21, 2017 outside Temple Trees, his subsequent statements made on December 14, 2017, March 23, 2018, June 4, 2018, June 18, 2018 and October 5, 2018 indicate and clearly demonstrate that his intention was to refer to Judges.

The Defence Counsel contended that according to the evidence led before the Supreme Court, nothing had been said against the Supreme Court and that therefore the Supreme Court has no jurisdiction to hear and determine this case. The Supreme Court held that although the President’s Counsel contended so, according to the evidence, the respondent has said that the majority of Judges in Sri Lanka are corrupt Judges. The Court observed that the above statement of the respondent refers to the Judges of the Supreme Court as well.

The Attorney General had called several witnesses namely Gayan Sampath, Nuwan Dhanushka Warnakulasuriya, Dhananjaya Naranbedda, Sudeva Hettiarachchi, Ajith Wickremasinghe and several other witnesses.

All judges of the Supreme Court had earlier determined to proceed with Contempt of Court charges against the former State Minister after perusing the transcript of the video footage pertaining to the alleged derogatory statement.

R. Sunil Perera, a retired Sri Lanka Air Force Officer had made a complaint to the Supreme Court seeking a Contempt of Court action against Ranjan Ramanayake for allegedly making insulting remarks on the reputation of the judiciary and lawyers, at a press conference held on August 21 last year.

President’s Counsel M.A.Sumanthiran with senior counsel Viran Corea and Dinesh Vidanapathirana appeared for Ramanayake. Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanna with Senior State Counsel Suharshi Herath Jayaweera appeared for the Attorney General.