Right of Reply
M.U.M Ali Sabry, President’s Counsel, has sent us the following statement:
My attention had been brought to a newspaper article published in your newspaper on the 20 February under the heading “CID cracks journalist Keith Noyar’s abduction and assault case”.
According to the said newspaper article, reference had been made to myself and several other lawyers with an alleged precise details of a purported meeting/consultation ought to have been convened by the former Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The particular excerpt from the newspaper article is reproduced herein below;
“As news began to spread of the arrests early Saturday morning, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa convened a meeting of his top lawyers including M.U.M. Ali Sabry, P.C., Kalinga Indratissa, P.C., and Asith Siriwardena. Expecting that Rajapaksa could be summoned at any minute to the CID, the lawyers discussed a plan of action ranging from the possible filing of a Fundamental Rights petition to a publicity campaign to implicate former Army Commander Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka in the attack.”
I can vouch without any doubt whatsoever that, there was no such meeting/ consultation which took place as carried out in your newspaper, nor have there ever been any discussion whatsoever relating to the matters stated in your newspaper article.
Therefore, totality of your purported article have been fabricated, wherein your newspaper being a reputed print media house did not have the minimum courtesy to have verified the facts from parties referred to therein before carrying out the said publication.
We consider this deplorable act of your newspaper, a direct attempt to interfere with our right to engage in the legal profession without fear and favour to dispense our professional skills to any member of the general public.
Furthermore, you will appreciate as a responsible media organisation that, it is with immense hard work and dedication that, myself and all other persons who you have referred to in the article have earned a reputation in the legal sphere in Sri Lanka and have built years of trust and confidence amongst the general public for strictly maintaining confidentiality of our clients’ affairs.
You will understand that, professional communication between a lawyer and a client is a privileged communication and hence at all times expected particularly to maintain its confidentiality and sanctity attached to such communications.
When you carry out such publication attributable to us particularly discussing details of clients’ affairs, are utterly disturbing and can have a serious impact on our career which we have built with immense hard work, dedication and commitment, particularly at a time members of the general public who are our potential clients harbouring doubts about the confidentiality of the matters discussed with us.
We are disappointed as a newspaper of a reputation and calibre of yours had carried out such a false news report without any foundation whatsoever.
Whilst we admit that it had become the norm of the day for journalist and/or newspapers to carryout false and fabricated news items to suit hidden agenda, what we cannot comprehend is why the professionals such as us should be targeted for carrying out our professional duties.
Editor’s Note: Daily FT stands by its story.