Mohan Peiris

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Mohan Peiris
PC
Mohan Peiris.jpg
44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
Incumbent
Assumed office
15 January 2013
Appointed by Mahinda Rajapaksa
Preceded by Shirani Bandaranayake
41st Attorney General of Sri Lanka
In office
2008–2011
Appointed by Mahinda Rajapaksa
Preceded by C. R. De Silva
Succeeded by Shanthi Eva Wanasundera
Personal details
Spouse(s) Priyanthi
Children Talia Peiris
Alma mater St. Joseph's College, Colombo
Royal College Colombo
Sri Lanka Law College
Profession Lawyer
Religion Roman Catholic

Peter Mohan Maithree Peiris, PC is the 44th Chief Justice of Sri Lanka. He previously held the post of Attorney General.[1]

Early life and family[edit]

Peiris was educated at St. Joseph's College, Colombo and Royal College, Colombo.[2] He played cricket for both schools.[2] Peiris was called to the bar on 19 June 1975 and became a Solicitor of the Courts of England and Wales in 1978.[2]

Peiris's wife Priyanthi is also an attorney-at-law. Their teenage daughter Talia died in July 2002.[3] Peiris is a Roman Catholic and is a worshipper at All Saints’ Church, Borella.[4]

Legal career[edit]

After qualifying, Peiris worked for senior lawyers Daya Perera and D. R. P. Gunatilleke.

Peiris joined the Attorney General's Department in 1981 as a state counsel, later becoming a Senior State Counsel.[2] He left the Attorney General's Department in 1996.[2]

Peiris was appointed Attorney General on 18 December 2008.[5]

He withdrew murder charges in a case against former deputy minister Chandana Kathriarachchi and served an indictment on unlawful assembly for which the accused pleaded guilty.[6] Furthermore, he withdrew a rape case against Government Party Parliamentarian Duminda Silva.[7]

Peiris was appointed Senior Legal Officer to the Cabinet in September 2011.[8] He became chairman of Seylan Bank in April 2012.[9]

He represented Sri Lanka in The UN Committee Against Torture in 2011 in which he said that the Sri Lankan government has received intelligence information that missing lankaenews cartoonist Prageeth Ekneligoda is living in a foreign country. However he concurred that he lied when he was summoned by a local court.[10]

Chief justice[edit]

Peiris was nominated to be Chief Justice by President Mahinda Rajapaksa following the controversial impeachment of Shirani Bandaranayake.[11][12] The Parliamentary Council gave its approval for Peiris's appointment on 15 January 2013.[13][14] Peiris was sworn in as chief justice on 15 January 2013.[15][16] Peiris was officially inaugurated as chief justice at a ceremony in the Supreme Court on 23 January 2013.[17] The media, other than the state-owned media, were banned from the ceremony which was boycotted by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), the largest lawyers association in the country.[18][19] The ceremony was however attended by other judges including the associate judges of the Supreme Court.[20]

Peiris' appointment drew some criticism. Peiris is considered to be an ally of President Rajapaksa and his appointment was seen by critics as further consolidation of power by the president and his family.[21][22] United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed doubts about Peiris' independence and impartiality, particularly when dealing with allegations of serious human rights violations by the Sri Lankan government.[23][24] The International Commission of Jurists condemned Peiris' appointment, describing it as a "further assault on the independence of the judiciary".[25][26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Overview". Judicial Service Commission Secretariat. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Malalasekera, Sarath (6 July 2004). "Legal luminaries sworn in as President's Counsel". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  3. ^ "Obituaries". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 4 July 2012. 
  4. ^ "Mohan Pieris - The New Chief Justice". Messenger. 20 January 2013. p. 1. 
  5. ^ "Mohan Peiris appointed Sri Lanka's new Attorney General". TamilNet. 18 December 2012. 
  6. ^ http://mirror.lk/old/english/the-news/5142--chandana-kathriarachchi-sentenced-to-5-yrs-ri
  7. ^ http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/10516-duminda-silva-discharged-from-case.html
  8. ^ Malalasekera, Sarath (1 September 2011). "New post for former AG". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  9. ^ Malalasekera, Sarath (30 April 2012). "Mohan Pieris, new Seylan Bank chairman". Daily News (Sri Lanka). 
  10. ^ http://blog.srilankacampaign.org/2012/06/former-attorney-general-testifies-in.html
  11. ^ "Mohan Peiris nominated as next Chief Justice". The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka). 14 January 2013. 
  12. ^ "Sri Lanka seals impeachment with new judge". Bangkok Post/Agence France-Presse. 15 January 2013. 
  13. ^ "Parliamentary Council approves Peiris as new CJ". The Nation (Sri Lanka). 15 January 2013. 
  14. ^ "Mohan Peries’s name approved". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 15 January 2013. 
  15. ^ "New Sri Lanka chief justice Mohan Peiris sworn in amid opposition". BBC News. 15 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Bulathsinghala, Frances (16 January 2013). "New CJ of Sri Lanka sworn in". Dawn (newspaper). 
  17. ^ "Sri Lanka lawyers boycott chief justice ceremony". BBC News. 23 January 2013. 
  18. ^ "Media blackout for ceremonial sitting". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 23 January 2013. 
  19. ^ "Sri Lanka's legal fraternity takes a stand for judicial independence". Radio Australia. 24 January 2013. 
  20. ^ "Rich and poor equal before the law – CJ Peiris". The Island (Sri Lanka). 23 January 2013. 
  21. ^ Crabtree, James (15 January 2013). "Sri Lanka appoints new chief justice". Financial Times. 
  22. ^ Francis, Krishan (15 January 2013). "Sri Lankan leader replaces chief justice with ally". The Guardian/Associated Press. 
  23. ^ "Press briefing notes on Mali, Sri-Lanka, Zimbabwe and Iran". Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. 18 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "UNHCR to release a report on SL". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 18 January 2013. 
  25. ^ "Sri Lanka: appointment of new Chief Justice undermines Rule of Law". International Commission of Jurists. 15 January 2013. 
  26. ^ "Reinstate ex-Chief Justice-ICJ". The Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka). 16 January 2013. 
Legal offices
Preceded by
Shirani Bandaranayake
Chief Justice of Sri Lanka
2013-
Incumbent
Preceded by
Chitta De Silva
Attorney General of Sri Lanka
2008–2011
Succeeded by
Eva Wansundera