Defence Attache’s case : Counsel wants case re-opened | Sunday Observer

Defence Attache’s case : Counsel wants case re-opened

The counsel for Sri Lanka’s former Defence Atache who was convicted in a UK court in absentia asked that the case be re-opened, when it was heard before the Chief Magistrate on Friday, the foreign media reported.

The case was taken up on March 1 at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court. The counsel for the Defence, Attache Brig. Priyanka Fernando said the job description of his client included safeguarding the Embassy premises during protests, in an attempt to justify his gesture. But the Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot was not convinced by defence counsel Barrister Nicholas Wayne ‘s argument and noted that Brig. Fernando should “strictly adhere” to “personal behaviour and professional standards,” referring to the gesture he has made drawing two fingers across his throat.

The Judge said, therefore, the Sri Lankan diplomat was not covered by the Vienna Convention and that he cannot rely on diplomatic immunity to quash his earlier conviction for public order offences.

The Tamil complainants giving evidence earlier said they were constantly harassed and threatened by Lankan diplomats in the UK. Later, the counsel for Brig. Fernando made an application under Section 142 of the Magistrate’s Court Act to have the case re-opened on three grounds including that there was an ‘abuse of process’.

The hearing was adjourned for March 15 to consider the application.

A private prosecution was brought against the Lankan Defence attache by a pro-LTTE protestor who took part in the demonstration in front of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on February 4, 2018 and others.