UNP Deputy Leader Karu Jayasuriya told the ‘White Flag’ High Court Trial-at-Bar this week (on Monday) that Mr. Sarath Fonseka told him that what had appeared in The Sunday Leader newspaper, following an interview with him, was reported out of context.
Giving evidence, Mr. Jayasuriya said that Mr. Fonseka had spoken to him the day after The Sunday Leader carried the interview.
Mr. Fonseka is charged for stating in an interview to The Sunday Leader newspaper that Defence Secetary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered not to spare any of the LTTE cadres surrendering even if they were coming with white flags. He is charged for making a false statement to The Sunday Leader, arousing communal and anti-government feelings among the public and creating disputes among them. The Trial-at-Bar consists of Judges Deepali Wijesundara (President), W.T. M. P.B. Warawewa and M.S Razeen. Senior Defence Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetti (NL) led the evidence of Mr. Karu Jayasuriya (KJ).
NL: Are you an MP?
NL: You are the Deputy Leader of the party as well.
NL: You have been a minister.
NL Have you served in the Army?
NL: As a businessman have you managed several companies?
NL: Did you serve as Sri Lanka’s Ambassa dor in Germany?
NL: Were you involved in the election cam paign for the UNP around December 2009?
KJ: Yes, the Presidential election campaign.
NL: Whom did you support at that election?
KJ: We supported Gen. Fonseka.
NL: Was it only your party that supported Gen. Sarath Fonseka?
KJ: No, our party as well as the JVP suppor ted him.
NL: Did you associate with Gen. Fonseka closely?
KJ: Yes, in my capacity as the party coordi nator I visited General Fonseka’s office regularly.
(Showing a copy of The Sunday Leader of December 13, 2009, Mr. Ladduwahetti asked if he had seen it before).
KJ: Yes. On December 13, 2009 I did see it.
NL: What steps were taken after seeing the article?
KJ: I asked Fonseka whether he saw the re port.
(The Court experienced a power cut at this time. The doors of the Court room were open and Mr. Jayasuriya contin ued his evidence)
KJ: The General said that what he had told The Sunday Leader had been quoted out of context and did not relate to what he said.
Judge Deepali Wijesundara said due tosecurity reasons the case cannot continue with the doors of the court room open.
NL: Did you visit Mr. Fonseka’s office the following day?
KJ: Usually I visit the office. I went there and spent some time.
NL: Was a meeting held in his office?
KJ: Yes. We had meetings with several or ganisers.
NL: Did you see any one from The Sunday Leader in his office?
KJ: I saw Frederica Jansz speaking to Gen eral Fonseka.
NL: What was her appearance like?
KJ: She appeared to be sad. I did not ask her anything. I continued with my work.
(Evidence of Mr. Jayasuriya ends)
Cross examination by Deputy Solicitor
General (DSG) Buwaneka Aluvihare
DSG: Did you lodge a complaint about this (article)?
DSG: You had taken the responsibility of the campaign for Mr. Sarath Fonseka.
DSG: Do you know the owner The Sunday Leader Lal Wickrematunga and the Ed itor of The Sunday Leader Ms. Jansz?
DSG: Had your party decided to pay four mil lion rupees every month to The Sunday Leader?
KJ: Maybe for advertisements.
DSG: I suggest that it was given as a relief payment to the newspaper.
KJ: It may have been for advertisements.
DSG: Did you make any payment to any oth er newspaper other than The Sunday Leader?
KJ: There were payments for advertise ments also on radio and TV. I was not fully aware of these details. There was no necessity for that.
DSG: Were payments made to other papers?
KJ: Payments would have been made for all papers. They do not publish free adver tisements.
DSG: I suggest that four million rupees each month was a relief payment.
KJ: I have to give the same answer. It is for advertisements.
DSG: Do you read The Sunday Leader?
KJ: As a reader I read all political newspa pers as time permits.
DSG: You said that when you saw the head line of the particular issue of The Sun day Leader (13.12.2009) you said you were shocked. What did you do?
KJ: Since it could give a wrong impression I spoke to General Fonseka and sought a clarification.
DSG: What did he say?
KJ: The paper had mentioned that orders were given to shoot. He said he did not say such a thing and had told what an other journalist had told him. I was sat isfied with that answer.
DSG: You quoted him saying it was ‘out of context’.
KJ: I can’t remember the exact wording. That was the idea.
DSG: Did Mr. Fonseka use the word ‘out of context’ or deny that he gave an inter view?
KJ: He said what has been published is not what he had said.
DSG: Did you think that the article was dam aging to the election campaign?
KJ: Yes. Since it could be misinterpreted for political reasons.
DSG: Did you make any effort to correct that situation?
KJ: There were others handling the media. Mr. Mangala Samaraweera was from the UNP and the JVP too had a member.
DSG: You did not make any attempt to cor rect it.
KJ: No, after I got it clarified, I went ahead for meetings.
DSG: Did you ask Ms. Jansz why she publish ed it?
KJ: I did not speak to her that day. I did not ask her.
DSG: Are you aware that no complaint has been lodged with the Press Complaints Commission so far?
DSG: Did you give advice to do so?
KJ: I was having the responsibility to travel around for election activities.
DSG: If you wanted you could have asked why this ‘out of context’ item was pub lished.
KJ: Though there was no obstacle to do that, there were others assigned for these duties.
DSG: I suggest that Ms. Jansz said that what was told has been published.
KJ: I did not speak to her that day.
DSG: Did you try to find out what exactly Mr. Fonseka said?
KJ: There was no necessity. I accepted what he said.
DSG: Did you check what has been reported ‘out of context’?
KJ: I told you that he had said that some thing which had not been told had been published. I accepted that.
Mr.Ladduwahetti led the evidence of Prof. Ashley Halpe (AH) thereafter.
NL: In the article titled ‘Gota ordered them to be shot’ which appeared in The Sun day Leader of 13.12.2009 the headline is in quotation marks.
NL: When quotes are used shouldn’t they be his own words?
AH: Yes. If there is a difference it should be mentioned in brackets.
NL: Can you give the meaning of ‘shot’ and ‘kill’?
AH: ‘Shot’ means shooting a person or a thing. ‘Kill’ means destroying some thing. When it is used in a newspaper the reader can get the same meaning.
NL: Can you give the meaning of ‘wanted’ and ‘attempted’?
AH: ‘Wanted’ would mean the need and at tempted means ‘trying’.
(Evidence of Prof. Halpe ends)
Cross examination by DSG
DSG: Does ‘A soldier is ordered to kill the enemy’ and ‘A soldier is ordered to shoot the enemy’ give the same mean ing.
AH: It gives two meanings. One says to shoot and kill.It gives the manner in which he should be killed and the other says only to kill.
DSG: During a war situation can it give the same meaning?
AH: Yes, sometimes.
Cross examination of Prof. Halpe ends
The next hearing is on July 25.