Ranjan Sentenced to Four Years RI
By Hansi Nanayakkara
The Supreme Court (SC), yesterday, sentenced actor-turned-politician Ranjan Ramanayake to four years rigorous imprisonment for Contempt of Court.
Last month, the SC Bench scheduled further clarifications on the Contempt of Court case for 12 January.
Accordingly,a three-Judge Bench comprising Justices Sisira de Abrew, Vijith Malalgoda and Preethi Padman Surasena gave a unanimous verdict in the case.
Announcing the verdict, Justice de Abrew said the Contempt of Court charge levelled by AG Dappula de Livera against Ramanayake had been proved beyond reasonable doubt.
Justice de Abrew further said the accused had at no stage withdrawn the statements he made denigrating the Judiciary in the eyes of the public.
He added the convict had also failed to express remorse over the controversial remarks during the period of the trial.
Justice de Abrew in further clarifying the verdict told Court the remarks made by Ramanayake had clearly damaged the image of the Judiciary.
He said the trial was based on charges filed against the convicted MP by the Attorney General.
The Justice stated evidence had further proved the remarks made by the convicted MP had been made intentionally to tarnish the image of Judges and lawyers.
He noted that during the trial proceedings the convict had maintained that his remarks concerning the Judges were a mistake.
However, Justice de Abrew explained the subsequent conduct and behaviour of the respondent had clearly displayed his true motives behind the harmful comments he made with regard to Judges and the Judiciary.
He then pointed out that during the course of the trial proceedings the respondent had made various statements to the Media regarding the case and observed that through those statements the convict had stressed he has no aim of withdrawing his comments concerning the case under any circumstance.
The Justice then emphasised the respondent had also claimed to the media on numerous times the latter was even more than prepared to be imprisoned over the case.
Justice de Abrew then informed the Court though the respondent had said he had no intention to denigrate the conduct of Judges in the country, the convict’s subsequent behaviour outside the SC premises during the trial proceedings when he had issued differing views to the Media as well as the original remarks made by him outside Temple Trees on 21 August 2017, have proved otherwise.
He lastly stated the evidence submitted to the bench against the MP concerned had proved the convict had resorted to his actions with preconceived notions.
The Justice then also dismissed the submission made by the PC appearing for the respondent who had claimed the SC was not empowered by law to preside over the case against his client.
Assistant Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanna appeared on behalf of the prosecution.
The accused MP was previously represented by TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran, PC,but as he is presently undergoing self-quarantine, the accused was represented by Attorney-at-Law Viran Corea yesterday.
During the course of the trial, MP Ramanayake came out of the SC premises at least four occasions and claimed he would not withdraw his remarks under any circumstance.
Meanwhile, the SJB MP was sent to the Correctional Centre for Youth Offenders in Pallansena, for a 14-day quarantine period, said Prison Spokesman, Chandana Ekanayake.
The case was filed against the ex-State Minister on Contempt of Court charges, for making defamatory remarks against the Judiciary on 21 August, three years ago.
Speaking to the Media following a meeting with then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees, Ramanayake had claimed a majority of Judges in the country issued biased rulings and that they were corrupt.
Retired Air Force Officer Sunil Perera and Venerable Magalkande Sudatta Thera later filed two petitions with the SC, alleging that such defamatory comments by the MP can shatter public confidence, and provide a distorted and twisted image of the Judiciary to Sri Lankans.
Based on these complaints, the AG had later served the charges against Ramanayake before the SC.