Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Judge Perera accused of the serious crime of forgery but no CAA investigations. This article is from Seychelles Weekly in 2007.

A criminal complaint was lodged with the police this week, against Supreme Court Judge A.R. Perera. The complaint was made by attorney, Mrs Alexia Antao. In her complaint, Mrs Antao has asked the police to conduct a criminal investigation of Judge Perera for forgery. According to the Penal Code anyone found guilty of forgery is liable to imprisonment of up to 3 years if convicted.

Alexia Amesbury then Antao and Judge Perera
 The complaint concerned proceedings and court records in a civil case dating back to October 2006. On October 17th at 10.00 am, court officials called a civil case with lawyer Philippe Boulle representing one party and Mr France Bonte representing the other side. The court record for the proceedings of that particular day was placed before Judge Perera for his signature. We reproduce below that record:

Mr Bonte: Your Lordship may I move in terms of my prayer.

Court (Judge Perera): There was an application for stay by Mr Boulle.

Mr Bonte: Your lordship if he has filed (sic) a reply now we take a date for ruling.

Court (Judge Perera): I will take an order on this. The case is fixed for ruling on 20th October 2006 at 9.00 am.

However, that proceeding does not appear on the records of that case. Instead, we have the following:

Mr Bonte: Your lordship may I move the motion be dismissed for want of appearance.

Court (Judge Perera): There was an application for stay by Mr Boulle.

Mr Bonte: Your lordship if he has failed to support the motion today, I move for dismissal.

Court (Judge Perera): The motion for stay of execution of judgment dated 22nd March 2006 was listed to be supported today. The parties are absent and unrepresented. On the application of counsel for the respondent, the motion is struck out.

This transcript was the one signed by Judge Perera as well as the court reporter. That last document, according to Mrs Antao, is the subject matter of the criminal investigation lodged by her with the police. Mrs Antao cites the Seychelles Penal Code which defines forgery as “the making of a false document with intent to defraud or to deceive”. The code goes on to elaborate what the “making of a false document” entails. Section 333 states:

Any person makes a false document who:

a)      makes a document purporting to be what  in fact it is not;

b)      alters a document without authority in such a manner that if the alteration had been authorised it would have altered the effect of the document;

c)       introduces into a document without authority whilst it is being drawn up matter which if it had been authorised would have altered the effect of the document.

In an exclusive interview, we asked Mrs Antao why she has brought the complaint against the judge when she had not been mentioned in the transcript. “It is precisely because my appearance for Mr Boulle has been removed from the proceedings that alerted me to something drastically wrong had taken place.” She said. According to the cause list, the case was to be heard at 10.30 am not 10.00 am. Below is a transcript of the entire proceeding as it is recorded on the tape:

Mr Bonte: Your Lordship may I move in terms of my prayer.

Court (Judge Perera): Mr Boulle is not here.

Mr Bonte: It is alright, may I move in terms of my prayer. We take a date for judgement.

Court (Judge Perera): There was an application for stay by Mr Boulle.

Mrs Antao:  Is it a case for Mr Boulle?

Court (Judge Perera): Yes

Mrs Antao: Can I stand for him? I am ready, willing and able but un-instructed.

Mr Bonte: Un-instructed. So sit down my friend. Let me go about my business.

Court (Judge Perera): There was an application for stay filed by Mr Boulle.

Mr Bonte: Yes.

Court (Judge Perera): With your reply.

Mr Bonte: Yes. Now we take a date for ruling.

Court: I will make an order on this. The case is fixed for ruling on 20th October at 9.00 am.

Judge Perera, a Sri Lankan by birth, arrived in Seychelles 25 years ago. At the time, the judiciary served the whims and fancy of the one party state dictatorship led by Mr Rene. Under the Constitution of the one-party state introduced in 1979, no one enjoyed the protection of the fundamental rights and freedoms as we do today under the third Republic Constitution. The fundamental law was not even one-party state constitution but the constitution of the SPPF.

During his long career in Seychelles, Perera served a stint as Registrar of the Supreme Court. As a foreigner, Perera could only serve one term of seven years as a Supreme Court judge since, according to the Constitution of the Third Republic, he could not be reappointed. Perera somehow served two stints as Supreme Court Judge while still a foreigner. However, when his second term expired, Perera applied for and was granted citizenship, the consequence of which is life tenure as a Supreme Court judge. This sleight of hand has been condemned by Seychellois lawyers and politicians as an assault on the spirit of the constitution.

This is not the first time that Judge Perera has courted controversy in regard to court proceedings. In 1994 in a civil case brought by Ms Kathleen Pillay against the Russian airline Aeroflot and the Seychelles Government, Judge Perera ruled in favour of the Airline, which was represented by France Bonte. According to sworn affidavits  by two lawyers present in the court,  Ms Pillay stood up and shouted at the judge “Once again you have protected your post” and then stormed our of the court. According to these two lawyers in their affidavits, the lawyer for Aeroflot, Mr Bonte, addressed the court saying “My Lord this is a contempt of court”, to which Judge Perera replied, “I will report this matter to the Chief Justice” and then said to the stenographer, “Make a note of what has been said and I shall refer the matter to the chief Justice to deal with”.

The next day, however, Ms Pillay was served with a notice signed by Judge Perera, to appear before the Supreme Court two days later to show cause why she should not be dealt with for contempt of court.  However, when Ms Pillay applied for the transcript of the proceedings to prepare her defence, court officials informed her that Judge Perera refused to give back the file. Later, however, Ms Pillay received an extract of the proceedings from Judge Perera which had words, “Before I initiate proceedings for contempt” added.  During that time, in a sworn affidavit, Ms Pillay challenged the correctness of the record and said “… the extract provided to her was to the best of her information knowledge and belief, a false record of the proceedings”. Her allegation was further supported by the sworn affidavits of the two lawyers who were present in court on that day.

Earlier this year one of the parties in the case when Mr Boule was not present made a complaint against Judge Perera to the Constitutional Appointments Authority (CAA) to have the judge investigated by a tribunal for his conduct. When the complaint was given publicity by Nouvo  Vizyon Magazine, Perera inexplicably decided to offer an explanation to the magazine in a long letter justifying his action. In this letter, Judge Perera admitted to “recording the proceedings in chambers on the draft of the transcript of the earlier court proceedings.” Again according to him “that was no dishonest or corrupt, nor a falsification of record.”

Referring to her criminal complaint against Judge Perera the attorney, Mrs Antao, said “By his action, in my view, Judge Perera has shown that he has no integrity, is unfit to be a judge and I believe that in the eyes of the Seychellois people he has lost credibility as a judge. How many have won or lost their cases as a result of this kind of conduct. His conduct has further degraded the embattled judiciary. The judge has clearly become an embarrassment to our once reputable institution.”

This newspaper is of the view that if the authority concerned (CAA) does not intervene now and rescue the judiciary from itself, then they too would be responsible for the utter degradation of the judiciary unless such a judiciary serves another agenda contrary to that provided for by the Constitution.

Source: Seychelles Weekly 2007

NOTE:  There was never a tribunal for Judge Perera or any suspension by President James Michel. According to research the Judge was called to answer a few questions secretly behind closed doors by the then CAA Chairman France Bonte; this was a massive conflict of interest as Bonte was also implicated in the case. The investigations were buried even before it started.