Friday, December 5, 2008

An End to "Sunday Leader" Slander!

Today, District Judge Priyantha de Silva of the Mount Lavinia District Courts issued an enjoining order on a plaint filed by Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa against Lasantha Wickramathunga, the Editor of Leader Publications (Pvt) Ltd and Leader Publications (Pvt) Ltd, preventing further publications transport references defamatory of him. The enjoining arrange was sought regarding an article published on 9th November 2008 version of the Sunday Leader, which was careful on the face of it insulting.
M.U.M. Ali Sabry, advice for Plaintiff Rajapaksa mentioned in courtyard inter alia that the Secretary Defence had joined the Sri Lanka Army in 1971 as a Second Lieutenant and after 20 years of lively service in the Army, retired. During his term, Rajapaksa was among the elite who received much praise for his service to the national reason, thereby flattering a receiver of a presidential commendation from the then President J R Jayawardena in adding to being bestowed the Rana Wikrama and Rana Soora (on two occasions) medals for bravery in combat from in office presidents Ranasinghe Premadasa and D B Wijethunga. It was also mentioned in court that he had played a significant role in the Vadamarachchi operation together with General Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Maj. General Wijaya Wimalaratne.
Counsel also filed an Island newspaper dated 17th June 1987, with a face page photograph, showing the plaintiff with the then Brig. Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Col. WIjaya Wimalaratne, captioned 'The national flag and army standard were flown far on top of the ground by soldiers who wrested the Vadamarachchi area from the control of terrorists' which went on to prove that the applicant had played a vital role during some important operations against terrorists while in lively service.
The counsel Sabry explaining this, further mentioned that the Sunday Leader Publication has carried a series of articles prior to this, with the willful intention of defaming the picture of the Secretary of Defense and uncomforting the confidence of the Forces. Among such previous articles were "MIG deal crash lands on Govt." published on 15 July 2007; "Lid blown on ghost company that did the MIG deal" published on 29 July 2007;"Who profited from the MIG deal" published on 5 August 2007; and "MIG deal crash lands on Defence Ministry" in print on 2 September 2007. Defense Secratery Gotabhaya Rajapakse has already filed action next to defamation arising from these articles on 22 February 2008 at the Mount Lavinia Courts, difficult Rs.1 Billion against the similar respondents as this container.
It was further exposed that when the earlier container was to be heard, owing to the possible security threat on the Secretary Defence and the other witnesses, such as the three Armed Forces Commanders, Mr.Rajapaksa's counsel requested to move the case to Colombo District Court in order to facilitate leading of evidence via Video Conferencing which is available in Colombo District Courts. It was brought to courts' notice that the Sunday Leader Editor has objected to this measure. It is during this period that the 9 November 2008 Sunday Leader has carried the front page headline "NIC Tender Bender and the security factor" in its "Spotlight" column with a prominent photograph of the Defense Secretary, which however has no relevance, involvement nor mention of Mr.Rajapaksa in the body of the article. The courtyard careful this to be insulting and thus issued the above enjoining order.
Speaking to the media, Secretary Rajapakse's Counsel Ali Sabry mentioned "Due to the behaviour of the respondent, my client had no option other than to go in for an enjoining order preventing any further articles of this nature." Mr. Rajapaksa had to be for myself there in courts today as an standard citizen in spite of threats to his life, as he supposed the insult had an result on the self-assurance of the Sri Lankan carrying weapons required who are busy in inclined battles next to the Tiger terrorists, with a sight to bringing to an end two and half decades of bloody war. advice for the plaintiff M.U.M. Ali Sabry appeared for Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse along with Attorneys-at-Law Irusha Kalidasa, Sanjeeva Dassanayake, Lakshitha Jayawardane, Rasika Dissanayake and instructed by Attorney-at-Law Sanath Wijewardane.

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