25 November 2016
Contempt of Court or Defamation of the Individual?
[A lawyer today filed fourteen Contempt of Court actions in the Supreme Court against the editor of Lankaenews website Sandaruwan Senadheera.
The lawyer - Deputy Mayor of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Council Madura Vithanage - is seeking the Court’s jurisdiction to punish Senadheera for allegedly publishing defamatory articles on Lankaenews.
Vithanage complaining that there had been a series of articles published a on the website 'Lankaenews' and on its social media, defaming judges and castigating their character.
The complainant stated that the contents of the said articles on the website and on social media had insulted, defamed, and ridiculed judges whose names are referred to therein, and were a direct and indirect intimidation on judges as well as the judiciary as a whole.
“These articles have attacked on both the judicial conduct as well as the private lives of the judges and caused embarrassment not only to the judges but also to the entire judiciary”, the complainant said] – Daily News article - Contempt of Court charges against Lankaenews
I was also insulted, defamed and ridiculed in Sri Lankan Courts as well as Australian Courts. My recourse was to write about it through media space developed by myself and by others and if I still felt unsettled – I submitted the matter to the Lord. When I identified with the return from the Lord – I shared my completed experience with wider Public – recognizing that there would be many in need of such sharing. Often the sharing is indirect through the investment in that particular medium by wider public. When even one needy member of the Public feels comforted or relieved due to such sharing I represent the Public. Any insult to me is also insult of the Public.
The contempt charges, to cover the ‘entire’ judiciary – need to be made by a member of the Judiciary and not by someone who is on the other side – the side of the Public.
This week there was a discussion in Jaffna Civil Appeal Court – about a judge in the primary courts not allowing lawyer of one side to ask a vital question of a witness. The judge prevented such questioning – it was discussed. Hence the Appeal Court judge directed that the lawyers settle the issues on which they agreed and present that – so there is no room for Judicial interference in those areas. But then what about the litigants themselves? There are many instances where the litigants’ interpretation of facts are lost consciousness of. Worse – the litigant is insulted for doing the right thing by law. My second marriage was lawful marriage which is also healthy for Australia as well as Sri Lanka, but the lawyer representing the other side kept saying in Mallakam Court that I was NOT part of the family. To its credit – the High Court of Jaffna put that lawyer in his place by the Judge asking the question ‘that is lawful marriage isn’t it’ - at the first mention itself. Like the Sri Lankan armed forces that lawyer seems to have completely forgotten that there was no lawful basis for his claim.
Lawyers and Judges who include the Truth of the Public – become Governors through their judicial services. The retirement life would be Service rich due to such true sharing.
Lankaenews may have acted in breach of defamatory laws of Sri Lanka. But in terms of e-news – is one to use Sri Lankan law or global common laws – to publish as well as to find fault with? Under certain circumstances two wrongs at local level can make a right at the global level. In this instance – the complaining lawyer who is also the Deputy Mayor of Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte Municipal Council, is part of the Executive and by representing the Judiciary – the complainant is acting in breach of the Doctrine of Separation of Powers. The media, to the extent it publishes the work of the Public is part of the Public. If the above mentioned publishing happened through such facility, but was in breach of a particular law, then taken as a whole the two breaches have made a right by balancing each other out.
After the above discussion in the High Court of Jaffna – I said to our lawyer outside the courtroom that I had a similar experience in Australian Federal Court – with Justice Tamberlin – who was answering my questions posed to the lawyer for the University of NSW. I sued Justice Tamberlin through Racial Discrimination Act 1975 – but Judge Moore who was listed to hear the matter said to me that it would be a difficult hearing for me. As per my previous experience Judge Moore was more fair and balanced than any other judge who heard my matters. Hence I did not go further with that complaint. But Justice did take place through the UN:
[Mr Kirby finished 10th with 64 votes and Justice Tamberlin was last with only 18 votes. Even if the vote for the two Australian was not split, Mr Kirby would still have fallen five short of the tally of the seventh judge elected.]- The Australian Business Review article dated 12 March 2009 – under the heading ‘Michael Kirby, Brian Tamberlin miss UN posts’
If the UN also fails the true believer – the Lord hears us. One who is true to her/himself has the power to return through the system of Natural Justice, the verdict on the Judge in areas where one is more free than the Judge. Ultimately through such reversals we include Natural Justice in our mind structure and that becomes our heritage – shared with future generations and wider world. I use that system often here in Thunaivi-Vaddukoddai where not many have knowledge of the law. Once I note that they have earned their punishment/discipline – I lose consciousness of the official system in the case of such person. This is something that the Judiciary needs to look at in terms of LTTE combatants who were punished in war zone. To punish them through the legal system beyond others in the system – for example the armed forces – would create another problem for the official system.
In the above mentioned Jaffna matter – the other side was represented by a retired Judge. As I said to a young entrepreneur here in Thunaivi- Vaddukoddai – at her level of seeking money without proper proposals - it was a question of whether she would take over my mind or whether I would take over her mind. The young lady stopped arguing further and I did not see her any more. That to me was the confirmation that I won by defeating her ego.
Ultimately it is about who we see ourselves through. Where judges are condemned unjustly – the Public defeats its own judicial system. Where the media is condemned unjustly – the group in whose name it is done loses freedom to make public expressions and there to social sharing. When we share in one’s difficulties – we gain instantaneously their positive strengths. It is to make such sharing more comfortable that we have family, institutional and community structures. Those who indiscriminately cross borders are like illegal migrants who need to cure their illegality before the free flow of common ownership would benefit and support them.