Sri Lanka's Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake walks out on trial
Sri Lankan Chief Justice Dr Shirani Bandaranayake walked out of her impeachment hearing before lawmakers yesterday after complaining that she was not being given a fair trial, legal and parliamentary sources said.
The move to impeach Bandaranayake, the country's first female chief justice, came after she scuppered a bill that would have given more powers to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's younger brother Basil, who is economic development minister.
"The chief justice and her team of lawyers walked out of the parliamentary select committee after making a statement that she is not being given a fair hearing," a lawyer close to the process said. "[Bandaranayake] will not attend future hearings."
A parliamentary official said yesterday's hearing - the third since the impeachment process began on November 23 - ended abruptly as the 54-year-old staged her dramatic walkout and said she would not attend any more hearings of a panel dominated by ruling party MPs.
There was no formal reaction from the government but a lawmaker from the governing United People's Freedom Alliance party who declined to be identified said they would proceed with the inquiry today, with or without the chief justice attending the hearing.