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SC extends stay order on HC trial of Gota, 6 others

The Supreme Court yesterday further extended its Interim Order directing the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar not to commence recording evidence in a case filed against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and several others in connection with the D. A. Rajapaksa Museum case, until December 20.

The case filed against former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and six others in connection with an incident that the D.A. Rajapaksa Museum and Memorial in Medamulana was built using public funds amounting to Rs.33.9 million was to be commence for day-to-day trial from October 15 before Colombo Permanent High Court-at-Bar.

Supreme Court three-judge bench comprised Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Murdu Fernando and Justice E.A.G.R. Amarasekara.

The Supreme Court made this order pursuant to an appeal filed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa challenging the Court of Appeal’s decision to refuse a revision application which challenged an order made by Permanent High Court-at-Bar to reject his Preliminary Objection over Court’s jurisdiction to hear D. A. Rajapaksa Museum case.

This appeal is to be taken up for argument on December 10 before Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court on a previous occasion had granted leave to appeal against the Court of Appeal order dated July 18, 2019.

Earlier, the Attorney General informed Supreme Court that he expects to bring several amendments to the indictments filed against Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

On February 11, the Permanent High Court-at-Bar decided to overrule the preliminary objections raised by Gotabaya Rajapaksa and six others in connection with the D. A. Rajapaksa Museum case citing that the Permanent High Court-at-Bar has the jurisdiction to hear this case.

On July 18, this year, the Court of Appeal dismissed a revision application filed by former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa challenging an order made by the Permanent High Court-at-Bar to reject his Preliminary Objection against the D. A. Rajapaksa Museum case.

The Attorney General had filed indictments against seven accused, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, members of the Director Board of the Land Reclamation and Development Corporation (LRDC) Chairman Prasad Harshan de Silva, Bhadra Udulawathi Kamaladasa, Sudammika Kheminda Artigala, Saman Kumara Abraham Galappatti, Devage Mahinda Saliya and Srimathi Mallika Kumari Senadheera under seven counts for allegedly misappropriating LRDC funds of Rs.33.9 million.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva with Ali Sabry PC and Counsel Sugath Caldera under the instructions of counsel Sanath Wijewardane appeared for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Additional Solicitor General Priyantha Nawana with Senior Deputy Solicitor General Milinda Gunatilleke and Deputy Solicitor General Dileepa Peiris appeared for the Attorney General.