The Sunday Times settle dispute with shooting coach

Mr. Sarath de Zoysa, the National Practical Shooting Coach, retired Army officer and ex-planter settled the action filed by him claiming damage against Wijeya Newspapers Limited upon the receipt of an agreed sum based on three articles appearing under the headings “Shooting coach on firing line”, “Shooters in a soup” and “Shooting bodies to probe” respectively in “The Sunday Times” dated 27th December 1998, 14th March 1999 and 21st March 1999 which Mr. de Zoysa claimed to be defamatory of him.

It was contended on behalf of Mr. de Zoysa that these articles contained allegations which were factually incorrect and falsely linked Mr. de Zoysa to a fabricated scandal. It was further contended that the unfounded, baseless and defamatory contents of these articles so published, caused humiliation and grave harm to the reputation of Mr. de Zoysa and caused him to suffer much pain of mind.

Mr. de Zoysa claims he leads a life of good repute and respectability right throughout and was at the time of publication of these articles, holding esteemed positions as that of the Sri Lanka National Coach for Practical Shooting, vice president of the National Rifle Association of Sri Lanka, Regional Director of the International Practical Shooting Confederation, Chief Range Officer of the International Range Officers Association and the General Secretary of the Sport Shooting Association of Sri Lanka.

Wijeya Newspapers Ltd. in answer to Mr. de Zoysa’s claim, said the articles were published in the public interest.

The above litigation was concluded in the Supreme Court, by the parties based on the monetary settlement stated above in favour of Mr. de Zoysa and on the agreement of Wijeya Newspapers publishing an apology agreed by both parties.

The Sunday Times regret the pain of mind, humiliation and embarrassment caused to Mr. de Zoysa by the publication of the aforesaid articles. Mr. Kuvera de Zoysa, Attorney-at-Law with Asela Rakawa, Attorney-at-Law appeared for Mr. Sarath de Zoysa on the instructions of Ms. Manohari Perera, Attorney-at-Law.

Mr. S.A. Parathalingam, President’s Counsel with Shivan Coorey Attorney-at-Law appeared for Wijeya Publications Ltd., on the instructions of Samararatne Associates.

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