No bail for Tissainayagam

When the case of journalist J.S. Tissainayagam’s detention was taken up last Tuesday, anapplication by his counsel to refer the question of jurisdiction of bail to the Supreme Court was turned down by High Court Judge Deepani Wijesundera.

On December 19 Counsel Anil Silva had moved an application for bail for the fourth time in the Tissainayagam case.

The Attorney General’s Department had not consented and the judge had said that since this was a case under the Prevention of Terrorism Act the court did not have jurisdiction to consider bail.

Counsel Silva had then argued that the Supreme Court had held in several other matters that the jurisdiction of a court was a matter of constitutional interpretation and therefore that it should be referred to the Supreme Court. Judge Wijesundera had said she would consider the arguments of the defence counsel and rule on the matter on January 13, but had turned down the application when the case was taken up on that date.

The translation of Tissainayagam’s statement was brought into question. In cross examination ASP S. A. Ranasinghe said that the translation of Tissainayagam’s statement in Sinhala was not read out to him. State Counsel Sudarshana De Silva intervened at that point and said that he realised that there were mistakes in the translation done by the Terrorist Investigation Department (TID) and that is why he had got a person in the Attorney General’s Department to translate the portions relevant to what he was basing his case on and he had given that translation to the judge. “Even this translation is not hundred percent correct because there is a difference in the Muslim and Tamil dialects,” State Counsel said.
Counsel Anil Silva objected to this and said that translations could not be given to the judge without the knowledge of the defence counsel and judgment could not be made by simply reading an incorrect translation.

After lengthy arguments on this matter it was decided that defence counsel’s junior and the court translator with the State Counsel present would translate the document.

The case will be taken up again on January 23.

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