Contempt of court:
Noticed to show cause
Defence Secretary Vs Leader Publications
Defence Counsel withdraws from case
Mount Lavinia Additional District Judge Macki Mohamed yesterday
issued notice on the Leader Publications and two others, Lal
Wickrematunga and journalist Fredrica Jansz, to appear in Court on July
9 and to show cause why they should not be dealt for contempt of Court.
At the commencement of the two cases where, Defence Secretary
Rajapaksa had filed against the Leader Publications, the Counsel for
Leader Publications informed the Judge they are not appearing for the
respondents, the Leader Publications, and withdrew from the two cases.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa,
in conversation with his Senior Counsel Ali Sabry at the
Mount Lavinia Court yesterday. Picture by Mahinda
In this case, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa sought Rs. 1
billion as compensation from the Leader Publications and Sunday Leader
newspaper for publishing an article defamatory of him. The Court issued
an injunction order on the defendants on December 14, 2008 prohibiting
them to publish articles defamatory of the petitioner Defence Secretary
Subsequently on May 14, 2009, the date on which they were required to
file objections, the defendants came to Court and pledged not to publish
anything defamatory to the petitioner and agreed to face punishment for
contempt of Court if the pledge was not honoured.
Judge Mohamed issued notice on the respondents after lengthy
submissions made by Senior Attorney M.U.M. Ali Sabry, Senior Counsel for
the Defence Secretary. Senior Counsel Ali Sabry submitted that the
counsel who appeared for late journalist Lasantha Wickrematunga and the
Leader Publications on the last hearing date, gave an undertaking to
Court that they will not publish any articles or any statements
defamatory to Defence Secretary Rajapaksa in the future.
Violating the undertaking given to Court on the last hearing date,
the Leader Publication had published an article on May 25, 2009
defamatory to the Defence Secretary.
In that article the writer had compared the Defence Secretary with
the LTTE leader.
The writer’s name was also not mentioned in that article. This is
gross violation of human rights, Senior Counsel Sabry said.
The Defence Secretary and an Officer of the Navy came to Court
yesterday to give evidence and informed the public about the correct
picture of the “Mig Transaction,” As the Counsel for the respondents
were not present in Court, we had to move for a date, the Senior Counsel
Earlier, Senior Counsel Sabry emphasised that if the Leader
publications violate the conditions agreed in Court, they will file
action against them in Court.
Senior Counsel Sabry with Samith Fernando, Laksith Jayawardena and
Rajitha Dissanayake instructed by Sanath Wijewardena appeared for the
Defence Secretary. The case will be called again on July 9, 2009.