Former Minister S.B. Dissanayake, in his objection to the appeal filed by the Bribery Commission against his acquittal by the High Court of all charges of bribery, alleged the sole purpose of the Bribery Commission`s appeal application was to prolong his agony by maintaining the allegation before court during the coming months which are of crucial importance to his career and good name.
Instructing lawyer Gowri Shangari Thavarasa yesterday filed the objections before the Court of Appeal on behalf of the respondent S.B. Dissanayake. The Bench comprised Justices D.J.deS. Balabatabendi and Eric Basnayake.
Respondent Dissanayake in his objection inter alia states that the prosecution by its own resources and endeavour not only failed to establish any offence against him but effectively established his innocence thereby excluding even the remotest possibility for a court to reach a different conclusion on the evidence presented before it.
He contends that the entire substance of this application is based on a misconception/misrepresentation of the law, that he had a burden to prove that his property and assets did not exceed his known income, even after the only evidence placed before court by the prosecution serves only to establish that his known income was in excess of his known assets and properties.
He maintains that the applicant has failed to furnish a legally valid application for leave to appeal within the mandatory time frame prescribed by law.
He states that the only evidence led by the prosecution at the trial was that of Investigating Officer Inspector Chandrapala of the Commission.
According to this witness, the investigation commenced on the direction of the Commission on a communication allegedly sent by one Dharmadasa of Veyangoda, Eluwapitiya. However, they could not trace such a person or establish the identity of the sender who for all purpose appeared to be a fictitious person, he maintains.
Director General of the Bribery Commission in his appeal inter alia states that upon the receipt of a communication, the Commission caused an investigation to be undertaken to ascertain whether an offence has been committed by S.B. Dissanayake.
On July 19, the Colombo High Court acquitted the accused S.B. Dissanayake. The appellant Bribery Commission being aggrieved by the said order of acquittal and/or judgement acquitting him, appealed to the Court of Appeal to leave to appeal.
The appellant states that the order made by the High Court is erroneous, unlawful, and unjustified. It also states that the trial judge thought it fit to go beyond the function and duty of a judge conducting a trial by commenting that the Commission `have failed in its obligation to make an informed decision to prosecute.
The appellant contends that if this be the function and duty of a judge of a trial court, the Attorney General would be inundated with such strictures in every judgement upon every prosecution under his name where an accused is acquitted.
Dr Ranjith Fernando with Ms. Deshani Jayatilake and R. Amila Udayangani appeared for the Bribery Commission. President`s Counsel D.G. Wijesinghe with Palitha Dharmawardane instructed by Gowri Shangari Thavarasa appeared for S.B. Dissanayake.