By S.S. Selvanayagam
Senior counsel for Bodu Bala Sena Secretary-General Gnanasara Thero yesterday informed the Court of Appeal that his client was hospitalised and submitted a supporting medical certificate.
The bench comprising Justices L.T.B. Dehideniya and K.K. Wickramasinghe fixed the contempt matter against Gnanasara Thero for 12 June.
When the contempt matter against Gnanasara Thero came up on 24 May before a bench comprising Justices Rohini Walgama (CA President) and S. Thurairaja, the court directed Junior Counsel Anusha Perusinghe, who appeared for Gnanasara Thero, to undertake to produce him on 31 May with a medical certificate.
The Court nominated a new bench comprising Justices L.T.B. Dehidenilya and P. Padman Surasena for an inquiry and had fixed the matter for 31 May to be mentioned to fix a date for inquiry.
The Court on 28 February overruled the preliminary objection by the Respondent Gnanasara Thero with the contempt matter against him and charge sheet read in open court.
The Court on 27 September directed the Attorney General to consider amending the summons if necessary against Gnanasara Thero with the particulars of his alleged offensive conduct with regard to the language and gestures he used at the Homagama Magistrates’ Court.
Homagama Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake filed Contempt of Court action in the Court of Appeal against Gnanasara Thero seeking the Appeal Court’s constitutional jurisdiction against his alleged offensive behaviour at the Homagama Magistrate’s Court amounting to Contempt of Court on 25 January last year.
On 25 January, Gnanasara Thero began to address open court after the court hearing pertaining to the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda was over. Later, Gnanasara Thero was arrested by Police on the charges of contempt of court, obstructing Court proceedings and intimidating a public servant.
Through this contempt of court action, the Homagama Magistrate has sought the Appeal Court’s jurisdiction to consider whether the alleged offensive behaviour of Gnanasara Thero inside the Court amounted to Contempt of Court.
He further sought the Court’s jurisdiction to take necessary legal action against Gnanasara Thero if the charges levelled against him amounted to Contempt of Court.
Manohara de Silva PC with Anusha Perusinghe appeared for the accused Thero. Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appeared for the Attorney General as Amicus Curiae (friend of the court, the one who assists the court by furnishing information or advice regarding questions of law or fact).