Appeal upheld, Interim Order suspending Champika’s trial till March 15 | Daily News

Appeal upheld, Interim Order suspending Champika’s trial till March 15

The Supreme Court yesterday issued an Interim Order suspending the trial of the case filed before the Colombo High Court against Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Patali Champika

Ranawaka and three others on the charges of careless driving and concealment of relevant evidence in 2016 in Rajagiriya area. This Interim Order will remain in force until March 15, 2023.The Supreme Court issued this order following granting leave to proceed with an appeal petition filed by the MP Ranawaka seeking an order suspending the Colombo High Court from hearing of the case.

The appeal petition was taken up before the Supreme Court Three-Judge-Bench comprising Justices Priyantha Jayawardena, A.H.M.D. Nawas and Achala Wengappuli. When the appeal petition was taken up before the Supreme Court President’s Counsel Faiz Musthapa appearing for petitioner Ranawaka informed court that the charge sheet related to this High Court case is flawed.

He said that the rest of the charges have been presented based on the first charge and since the first charge is wrong, the rest of the charges based on it are also wrong.

He said that it was very clear in the Magistrate’s Court that it was not the petitioner who was driving the car at the time of the accident and the Magistrate has given a decision in this regard.

In spite of that, he said that the case assigned to the High Court cannot be maintained based on a charge sheet containing allegations filed on that fact.

The panel of judges examined the relevant charge sheet and pointed out that there are some errors in it.

Also, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena pointed out that the High Court decision challenged by this petition is also flawed. Justice Achala Wengappuli pointed out that the second accused, Dilum Thusitha Kumara, had pleaded guilty before the Magistrate’s Court and was fined.

Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appearing on behalf of the Attorney General, said that two separate charge sheets have been filed against the accused former minister in connection with the car accident. He said that the defence raised objections regarding the charge sheets and the appeal against the rejection of those objections was also rejected by the Court of Appeal.

After considering the facts, Court fixed the appeal petition for support and decided to conduct the hearing of the petition on March 14, 2023.

Petitioner Champika Ranawaka states that the Attorney General has filed a case against him in the Colombo High Court alleging that he concealed evidence and fabricated false evidence in an accident that allegedly took place in the Rajagiriya area in 2016.

The petitioner said that despite the preliminary objections raised by his counsels that the case could not be continued, the High Court Judge had ordered that it be dismissed and fixed for trial.

Ranawaka then filed an appeal petition in the Court of Appeal pointing out that the decision of the High Court Judge was contrary to the law and therefore the petitioner requested the Court of Appeal to issue an interim order suspending the High Court hearing. He also requested the court to release him from the relevant charges.

After considering the appeal petition , the Court of Appeal bench comprising Justices Menaka Wijesundara and Neil Iddawela ordered to dismiss the petition.

Following that, this appeal petition was filed in the Supreme Court against that Appellate Court decision.

Through this petition, petitioner Ranawaka has requested the court to issue an order suspending the High Court hearing the case filed by the Attorney General against him before the Colombo High Court.

The petition has also sought to set aside the orders given by the High Court and the Appellate Court against its claim.

Attorneys Keerthi Thilakaratne and Amarasiri Panditharatne with President’s Counsel Faiz Mustapha appeared for the petitioner Ranawaka while President’s Counsel Maithree Gunarathne and Anil Silva appeared for other petitioners.

Senior Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Pieris with Additional Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appeared on behalf of the Attorney General.

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