February 22, 2019

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    New Special High Court begins sittings tomorrow

    July 15, 2018

    Sri Lanka Insurance Corporation’s one time chairman Gamini Senarath and its Managing Director Piyadasa Kudabalage will be the first to be indicted before the newly set up Permanent High Court at Bar, which will begin sittings tomorrow.

    They will face charges of misappropriation of funds from the SLIC by investing millions of rupees in ventures including the Grand Hyatt hotel project. Mr. Senarath was the chief of staff of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

    Around 100 state attorneys are to be recruited to the Attorney General’s Department to fast track the prosecution process through the special court, a senior Justice Ministry official said. The AG, in keeping with the provisions of the Judicature (Amendment) Act, which provided for the setting up of this court, has written to Chief Justice Priyasath Dep to obtain sanction to refer this case to the Special High Court.

    “It is up to the AG’s Department and the Chief Justice to determine which cases should be referred to the new High Court and the precedence they must take,” said the official who wished to remain anonymous.

    Meanwhile, the Justice Ministry will officially vest the refurnished court complex with the Office of the Chief Justice tomorrow as the Ministry is mandated to provide necessary infrastructure facilities for the separate permanent court proceedings, a senior ministry official said.

    The new Permanent High Court at Bar comprises three High Court Judges: Sampath Abeykoon, Sampath Wijeratne and Champa Janaki Rajaratne. Two other similar High Courts would be set up soon, the official said. Those aggrieved by the decision of this High Court can appeal to the Supreme Court directly.

    The offences which can be tried by the permanent HC include criminal breach of trust by public servants, or by bankers, merchants, or agents, criminal breach of trust by public servants in respect of money, dishonestly receiving stolen property and assisting in concealment of stolen property.

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