HC rules case filed against Johnston contrary to law
By Hansi Nanayakkara
Colombo High Court Judge Manjula Thillakaratne on Friday (15), said the manner in which the case filed before him by the Bribery Commission, charging Minister Johnston Fernando of causing a loss of Rs 400 million to the State by the arbitrary use of SATHOSA workers forpolitical activities, had been contrary to the Law.
The Judge gave this verdict accepting a revision petition filed by Fernando against the case filed at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court.
The Bribery Commission had filed charges against Fernando at the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court, during the previous UNF regime, for having allegedly forcibly used SATHOSA workers to engage in political work against their will from 2010 up to 2014, thus causing a loss of Rs. 400 million to the Government.
Later, Fernando through his lawyers had raised initial objections against the trial insisting that the Bribery Commission, when striving to file charges against him, had failed to seek the written approval of the three Commissioners of the Bribery Commission.
He has further claimed that in his objections that the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court had not been empowered by law to preside over the trial.
However, the Court had dismissed the objections raised by Fernando and had decided to press ahead with the case. Afterwards the Minister had filed a revision petition with the High Court and he had prayed the Court to issue an order to dismiss the charges filed against him before the Magistrate’s Court as it has not been empowered by law to hear it.
Having perused the revision petition Justice Thillakaratne deemed that the manner in which the Bribery Commission had filed the case against the Minister of Highways had been contrary to the law of the land and stated that the contents raised in the petition was being accepted by him and ordered his verdict to be conveyed to the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court for further action.