Permanent High Court at Bar gets to work | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

Permanent High Court at Bar gets to work

Former Chief of Staff to ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gamini Senerath being escorted to the Permanent High Court at Bar office, after he appeared before the newly opened Court on Friday, to finalise formalities before being released on bail.  Picture by  Chinthaka Kumarasinghe
Former Chief of Staff to ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gamini Senerath being escorted to the Permanent High Court at Bar office, after he appeared before the newly opened Court on Friday, to finalise formalities before being released on bail. Picture by Chinthaka Kumarasinghe

The much awaited Permanent High Court at Bar commenced duties last Friday (24), by serving indictments on the former President’s Chief of Staff, Gamini Senerath and three others for misappropriation of state-owned funds amounting over 500 million rupees.

The suspects appeared before court subsequent to notice being issued on them to appear last Friday.

Tight security was seen to be maintained at the premises. Police took special care to make a final round of scanning using flashlights. Police were seen checking the bench and chairs and a final patrolling shortly before court began.

The spacious newly built court complex had been carefully assembled taking into consideration many practical issues that are faced in existing courtrooms and the interior layout been carefully thought-out for court work to be carried out without any disturbance. Senior Deputy Solicitor General (SDSG) Thusith Mudalige for the prosecution made available the indictments that were subsequently handed over to the four accused; Gamini Senerath, former Insurance Corporation Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage, former Samurdhi Commissioner Neil Bandara Hapuwinna and Lasantha Bandara.

The accused were subsequently enlarged on Rs.100,000 bail and 2 surety bails worth one million rupees for each accused.

The Court further ordered that passports of all accused to be impounded and advised the registrar to inform the Immigration and Emigration Controller that foreign travels were barred for the accused.

Other than Neil Bandara Hapuwinna’s passport others had already been impounded by the Fort Magistrate’s Court. The bench further ordered all passports to be taken into the special court’s custody.

Lawyers appearing on behalf of the suspects’ requested court to grant sufficient time to peruse the indictment and other supporting documents before the matter is fixed for trial.

After considering all parties and upon their agreement the court granted three weeks time for the parties to peruse the documents and a calling date was fixed for the 19th, after which the case will be heard on a day to day basis. The Permanent High Court at Bar was declared open by Justice Minister Thalatha Athukorale last Tuesday.

The three-judge bench of the Special High Court comprises High Court Judges Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratne. -AS

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