Remand order on Johnston Kurunegala HC legally wrong – Romesh de Silva PC

Published : 9:01 am  September 12, 2018 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Shehan Chamika Silva   

Filing a revision application in the Court of Appeal, President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva yesterday said the order given by the Kurunegala High Court Judge remanding former Minister Johnston Fernando pending the conclusion of the trial was legally wrong.

President’s Counsel was of the view that the alleged High Court order was wrong on the face of it as the same court had previously enlarged Mr. Johnston Fernando (accused -petitioner) twice before and after the indictments.   
According to the President’s Counsel, initially, the prosecution had filed a B report against three suspects namely Johnston Fernando, Mohammed Shakeer and Nalin Fernando over an alleged purchase of certain goods from Laksathosa Limited violating the Public Property Act in Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court. 

However, later the Kurunegala Magistrate’s Court refused to grant bail as the law requires bail to be granted by a high court judge, unless for exceptional circumstances.   

Then the suspects filed a revision bail application and were released on conditional bail. 

Subsequently, the Attorney General indicted the suspects in High Court. Mr. De Silva said that his client had pleaded not guilty for the charges and subsequently on the same date he was released on bail again by the same High Court without any objection of the State.   

“The Kurunegala High Court Judge was then transfered and the case was taken up before a new Judge. When the trial was finally fixed to be heard daily, the new Judge ordered the suspect to be remanded till the conclusion of the trial proceedings, even though there was no request to do so,”said Mr. De Silva.  

According to the President’s Counsel, while remanding the suspect the Kurunegala Judge had said that it was the practice of the Court to do so. “Surely that cannot be the law which violates the Bail Act. What we have to understand is that bail is the rule, remand is the exception” Mr. De Silva said.


Order issued preventing journalists from entering court premises

By Pushpakumara Jayaratne   

Former Minister Johnston Fernando, his private secretary Sakeer Mohamed and former Sathosa Chairman Nalin Fernando were further remanded till today (12) by Kurunegala High Court Judge Menaka Wijesundara in connection with alleged misappropriation of state funds in 2013.   The suspects were initially remanded when the case was taken up for hearing on September 3.   

Meanwhile, the Judge had issued an order preventing the journalists from entering the court premises to cover the case.