By Chitra Weerarathne
The Court of Appeal yesterday refused Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera, leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the recent judgment of the Court, which convicted him of contempt of court and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for six years.
The Court of Appeal recently convicted the Venerable Galagodaatte Gnanasara thera of contempt of court and imposed a sentence of six years rigorous imprisonment.
Gnanasara thera disturbed the proceedings of the Homagama Magistrate’s court, when the inquiry in respect of the disappearance of Pradeep Ekneligoda was in progress.
The Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake complained to the Court of Appeal under Article 105/3 of the Constitution alleging the Commission of Contempt of Court.
The bench comprised Justice Preethi Padman Soorasena and Justice Shiran Gooneratne.
Rienzie Arsecularatne, PC supporting the application for appeal said that the Act of Contempt should not be split into different parts and give way to separate charges.
President’s Counsel Arsecularatne argued that the Supreme Court, when it convicted S. B. Dissanayake for contempt of the entire Supreme Court had sentenced Dissanayake for only two years. Six-year rigorous imprisonment was excessive, he maintained.
The accused did not intervene on his behalf. He had spoken for the military who had fought and won the war, the court was told.
Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya, who appeared for the Attorney General, objected, saying that the intention could not be considered when the act committed offended the court.
The court should not allow any third party to intervene in its proceedings.
The accused monk had made the utterances the court whereas Dissanayake had spoken at a public gathering. Still his utterances were held to be contempt by the entire Supreme Court. The six years rigorous imprisonment imposed on the monk was not excessive, DSG Abeysuriya added.
Arsecularatne PC told the media that the only avenue open to the accused respondent priest was to file a special leave to Appeal Application in the Supreme Court.