Judge raps prison authorities for not carrying out court order

‘White Flag’ Trial-at-Bar
By Manopriya Gunasekara

Senior Defence Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetti this week in the ongoing ‘White Flag’ case this week informed the High Court Trial-at-Bar that he would withdraw his earlier submision to call for the acquittal of the accused former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka without calling for his defence and instead submit a list of witnesses on March 9 and lead evidence in the defence of his client.

The Prosecution has concluded its case against the accused Mr. Fonseka, who is currently serving a jail term after his conviction by a Military Court Martial.

Mr. Fonseka is charged with having stated in an interview with The Sunday Leader newspaper that the Defence Secretary had ordered not to spare any of the LTTE cadres surrendering even if they were coming forward carrying white flags.

He is charged for making a false statement to the newspaper, 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.

Mr. Fonseka was informed that he could give evidence under oath and would be subjected to cross-examination or had the option of making a statement or remaining silent. Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluvihare appearing for the prosecution said he would require a copy of the list of witnesses submitted by Defence Counsel.

At the outset Mr Ladduwahetti informed Court that though the Court had ordered Prison authorities to provide hot water for Mr. Fonseka, in view of his health condition, so far they had failed to provide the facility.

Ms. Wijesundara (President) questioned a jailor as to why the Prison authorities had failed to provide the hot water facilities. He said that though the Court decision had been conveyed he had not got a response from Prison Headquarters.

Judge Warawewa: This is a Court order. There is no necessity to get the permission of Prison Headquarters. Why can’t a Court order be carried out? Ms. Wijesundara (President): If there is a Court order you do not need the permission of the Prison Headquarters. Why did not the Prison authorities carry out the order? If the prison does not have funds the respective party will provide them. The prison should provide the facility.

The panel of judges ordered the Prison authorities to implement the order and submit a report on the next date of hearing. The case will be taken up on March 9, Wednesday.

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