Appeal against verdict: Fonseka permitted to be present in court

The Court of Appeal ordered former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka to be brought to court when his petition against the decision of the first Court Martial is heard, consequent to the writ application filed by him.
The petitioner cited Army Commander Lt. Gen Jagath Jayasuriya, Major General H.I. Weeratunga, Major General A.I.R Wijetunga, Major General D.R.A.B.Jayatilleke, Rear Admiral W.J.S. Fernando and the Attorney General as respondents.

The petitioner said that the period in which the purported offences were said to have been committed in November 2009, as set in the charges, was a time when the petitioner as Chief of Defence Staff was not subject to military law.

He further stated that the members of the Court Martial who conducted the trial were biased, in law, as they were side-lined by the petitioner during the war for various reasons.He said that the 1st respondent is the brother-in-law of the 2nd respondent while the first respondent Jagath Jayasuriya also faced an inquiry initiated by the petitioner for nefarious activities not becoming of an Army officer and therefore should not sit in judgment on the petitioner.

The petitioner also states that he was not given adequate time to formulate the objections to the members of the Court Martial He said that the 2nd and 4th respondents are junior in rank to him and therefore, in law, cannot be members of a Court Martial

Petitioner’s Counsel P.C. Romesh de Silva filed a motion in Court seeking permission for the petitioner to be present in court when his application is heard.

The Bench comprising Justices Rohini Marasinghe and Upali Abeyratna was of the view that every person has a right to be present in Court when his case is heard and directed Deputy Solicitor General Sanjay Rajaratnam to inform the relevant authorities the order of the Court. The case would be taken up on November 10.

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