If every police investigation report is sent to the Attorney General for advice, it might delay the speedy adjudication of cases as the courts will have to wait for the AG’s decision, Panadura Magistrate R.S.A. Dissanayake observed during the hearing of the case against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.The Judicial Services Commission appointed Magistrate Dissanayake to hear the case following a complaint by Mannar District Judge and Magistrate A. Judeson that the minister made threatening calls and tried to interfere in the judicial process.A
The judge asked Criminal Investigation Department (CID) officers why the investigation reports were sent to the Attorney General as it was not the usual practice whenever suspects denied allegations.
He made this observation when the CID informed court that they had recorded statements from Minister Bathuideen and his brother, concluded investigations into the complaint and sent the report to the Attorney General for his advice.
The CID officers also told the court that they did not arrest the minister since he had denied the charges.According to the CID, the minister had claimed in his statement that his mobile phone which was allegedly used for threatening the Mannar Magistrate was with his brother.
The minister’s brother in his statement admitted making a phone call to the Mannar Magistrate but denied that he threatened him.Bar Association Secretary Sanjaya Gamage argued that there was enough evidence to name the minister as a suspect and to issue summons on him in terms of the Penal Code.
Magistrate Dissanayake then called Mannar Magistrate Judeson to the witness box and he gave evidence led by the CID. Mannar Magistrate Judeson told court that he could recognize the minister’s voice as he had called him on several times.
He also stated he had seen the minister on TV and had heard him speak and therefore he was familiar with his voice.
Mr. Judeson testified that it was the minister who made the threatening call on July 17 to change a judgment given by him. He said the minister had again phoned him on July 18.
After hearing the testimony of Judge Judeson and the evidence led by the CID, Magistrate Dissanayake issued summons on Minister Bathiudeen to appear in the court on August 27.
In a related development, Magistrate Dissanayake also observed that any lawyer could appear for the aggrieved party in any public interest litigation. Thus he overruled objections against the BASL lawyers appearing for complainants and assisting the prosecution in the Mannar Magistrate Court attack case.
The objections were raised by counsel appearing for the 13 suspects arrested for the attack on the Mannar Magistrate Court on July 18 following a demonstration outside the court promises.
BASL Secretary Sanjaya Gamage noted that according to the BASL constitution they could appear for members of the BASL who were the complainants in the instant case. The Magistrate ordered the arrest of 27 other suspects in connection with the incident and further remanded the 13 suspects till August 27.He also directed counsel for the 13 suspects to file written submissions seeking bail for them.
Counsel appearing for the 13 suspects told court that his clients were not involved in the incident and they were only on-lookers. But the CID said the police officers at the scene had seen the suspects throwing stones.
BASL Secretary Sanjaya Gamage with Vice-President Anoma Gunatilake, Assistant Secretary Charith Galhena and Treasurer Rasika Dissanayake appeared for the complainants.