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* Sri Lanka Chief Justice walks out of select committee impeachment hearings
Thu, Dec 6, 2012, 08:29 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 06, Colombo: In a dramatic move Sri Lanka's Chief Justice Dr. Shirani Bandaranayake Thursday walked out of the parliamentary select committee (PSC) hearing the impeachment motion against her saying that she has no faith in the process.

The PSC met for the fourth time this afternoon and the proceedings went on for few hours before the abrupt departure by the Chief Justice and her legal team.

Her lawyers had told the media that she is not receiving a fair trial and they will not participate in future hearings. They have objected to the PSC's failure to provide her team with a list of witnesses and the denying of her right to cross examine them.

Dr. Bandaranayake's legal counsel has also said that the PSC has not clearly stated the details of the charges against the Chief Justice and accused the government of trying to introduce new charges.

Reportedly the top judge's lawyers have also lodged complaints on the conduct of some members in the committee.

The PSC, which met Wednesday without the presence of the Chief Justice, has received the documents pertaining to the assets as well as details of bank accounts and liabilities of the Chief Justice and scrutinized them with the lawyers retained to assist the Committee.

The 11-member PSC comprising seven government members and four opposition members is chaired by Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa.

The impeachment motion against the 54-year-old Chief Justice signed by 117 lawmakers of Sri Lanka parliament has charged her with 14 counts of personal misconduct and financial improprieties.

The impeachment motion is brought against the highest judge after months of simmering between the executive and the judiciary.

The opposition members of the PSC called on an impartial hearing to safeguard the honor and independence of the judiciary. They have reportedly warned to boycott the proceedings if the trial was unfair.

The PSC is scheduled to convene Friday at 1.30 p.m. but it is not likely that the country's top judge would be present.



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