MP Ranjan Ramanayake, who was sentenced to four years imprisonment with hard labor for contempt of court, was taken to the Pallansena Juvenile Correctional Center in Negombo for quarantine.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira de Abrew, Vijith Malalgoda and Preethi Padman Surasena today pronounced the verdict unanimous.
MP Ranjan Ramanayake made the statement in contempt of court on August 21, 2017.
He was speaking to the media after a discussion with then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees.
Accordingly, the Attorney General had filed a charge sheet against the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake in response to a complaint filed by Ven. Magalkande Sudantha Thero and retired Air Force officer Sunil Perera in the Supreme Court.
The verdict in this case which was called on several occasions was announced today.
Senior Additional Solicitor General Sarath Jayamanne appeared for the Attorney General while President's Counsel M. A. Sumanthiran and a panel of lawyers appeared for the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake.
The case was heard before a three-judge bench comprising Justices Sisira de Abrew, Vijith Malalgoda and Preethi Padman Surasena.
The written verdict prepared by the court was announced in open court by Judge Sisira de Abrew, presiding over the three-judge panel.
The case was taken up on a complaint filed alleging that Ranjan Ramanayake had insulted the judiciary with a public statement he made in front of Temple Trees on August 21, 2017.
Evidence reveals that in that statement, the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake had stated that the majority of lawyers and judges in this country are corrupt and that they work for money and that they save the corrupt.
Defendant Ranjan Ramanayake, who testified before the court, has stated in his statement that he used the word 'judges' by mistake.
But on examination of his post-action, that argument breaks down.
Judge Sisira de Abrew recalled that the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake had made various statements to the media after the commencement of the trial and the conclusion of each of the proceedings.
Defendant Ranjan Ramanayake came out of the courtroom on December 14, 2017, March 23, June 4, June 18, 2018 and September 05, 2018 and proceeded to the Supreme Court premises. There, he has stated that he will not withdraw his statement that the judges are corrupt and that he is prepared to be imprisoned for it and that he will continue to stand up for it. Video evidence reveals that.
Ranjan Ramanayake had stated in his defense that he had no intention of insulting the judges in the questionable statement on which this case is based.
Judge Sisira de Abrew pointed out that the statement made by the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake on August 21, 2017 near Temple Trees had been made to the media on several occasions in the premises of the Supreme Court complex even after the commencement of this case.
The judge further stated that the respondent had repeatedly stated that he had an intention to insult the judges.
The judge also said that he rejected the objection raised by the President's Counsel appearing for the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to hear the allegation.
After examining all the facts, the three-judge bench ruled that the allegation of contempt of court made by the Attorney General against the respondent Ranjan Ramanayake had been proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
Accordingly, he was sentenced to four years imprisonment with hard labor.
The convict Ranjan Ramanayake was then taken by Prison bus from the court premises to Welikada Prison.
Prison spokesman Chandana Ekanayake stated that Ranjan Ramanayake, who was sentenced, was later taken to the Pallansena Juvenile Correctional Center in Negombo for quarantine.
Meanwhile, President's Counsel U. R. de Silva stated that Ranjan Ramanayake's parliamentary seat will be abolished after he was sentenced to 4 years imprisonment with hard labor.
He stated this when we inquired about the relevant legal situation.
He stated that this is clearly stated in Articles 89 to 91 of the Constitution.
Article 91 of the Constitution states the disqualification to be elected as a Member of Parliament.
It is in accordance with Article 89 of the Constitution, subject to disqualification. If a person is serving a sentence of imprisonment of any kind not less than 6 months after being convicted by any court for an offense punishable by imprisonment for a term not less than 2 years as provided in paragraph “d” of Article 89 The person is not eligible to vote in a presidential election or in an election to elect members of parliament or in a referendum.
Accordingly, Article 91 further states that a person is not eligible to be elected as a Member of Parliament, to sit or to vote in Parliament, subject to the relevant disqualifications referred to in Article 89.
At the last general election, four representatives of the Samagi Janabalawegaya representing the Gampaha district won parliamentary seats.
Former Member of Parliament Ajith Mannapperuma came fifth on the list.
Tissa Attanayake, the National Organizer of the Samagi Janabalawegaya stated that Ajith Mannapperuma will be given the post of Ranjan Ramanayake due to the situation.
However, in an inquiry made by Hiru news team the Chairman of the Election Commission Senior Attorney Nimal Punchihewa stated that the nomination of a new Member of Parliament could be made even after 6 months.
We also inquired from Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena regarding the relevant seat.
He said he was still investigating the legal background on this matter.