“Don’t try to act macho”- Magistrate warns activist; Impartiality of the Magistrate questioned

Colombo Additional Magistrate Mrs. Rajindra Jayasuriya has reprimanded the youth who encouraged fellow citizens to honk vehicle horns in protest of stopping vehicles in order to let elite personnel pass.

When the youth was produced in court, Mrs. Jayasuriya had told him to not to act macho.

“Don’t try to act macho. Behaving like lunatics for everything,” she has said.

Drivers, who were encouraged by the youth, objected by sounding vehicle horns protesting the stopping traffic on the main road by the police for a VIP convoy to pass following.

The youth, a resident of Pelawatta, Battaramulla, was arrested by the police and produced before court on April 30th.

When he was produced in court, his lawyers informed the court that he had studied at Nalanda College, Colombo and had recently returned to Sri Lanka after finishing his higher studies in Australia. His lawyers further said that such restrictions would not be imposed even when the Australian Prime Minister travels.

‘That’s in Australia. This is Sri Lanka and if you do not love this country do not return here, stay in Australia,’ the Magistrate has said in reply MediaLK learns.

Magistrate has expressed her views on the incident when the lawyers stated that this was the first time that this person had been involved in such an incident.

She has asked the youth if he was willing to apologize for his actions.
When the suspected youth raised his hand and explained the incident with the permission of the court,

“I saw you talking on the media,” the magistrate has said.
The magistrate blamed the youth for the incident and ordered his release on a Rs. 50,000 bail.
The lawyers point out that such statements regarding a suspect in a case should not be made by a judge and that such statements raise serious doubts about the impartiality of the Magistrate.

One of the lawyers who wished to remain anonymous said, “The judge’s actions are disgraceful. It is clear from her statements that the judge did not care about the presumption of innocence before the law.

“If the facts of the case are known by external means, they should be ignored. Otherwise, the case cannot be heard. That is the law. In the case of Danny vs Sirinimal, it is clearly stated that a judge is not a rubber stamp for the desires of a paranoid investigator. But that is exactly what happened in the court then.”

Circular No. 328 issued by the Judicial Service Commission on September 1, 2010 states that judges should refrain from making statements which are not relevant to the case in an open court as it would harm the independence and dignity of the judiciary. The lawyers point out that the action of the Magistrate in this manner is a very serious matter and that the Judicial Service Commission should take disciplinary action in this regard.

“The police arresting peaceful protesters in this manner and the judges in the courts reprimanding such people like this create fear in the society. It is a very dangerous situation. Peaceful protesting is a right that exists in any democratic country,” said a civil society activist.

The government later claimed that the traffic was halted for the Chinese Defense Minister who had recently visited Sri Lanka to pass.

May 5, 2021/ medialk.com

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