20 November, 2019

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Brigadier Priyanka Fernando To Face A Fresh Retrial On Friday: ICPPG

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, the Sri Lankan Diplomat and Former Defence Attaché, will Face a Retrial on 18th October 2019

Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, a Sri Lankan Diplomat and the former Sri Lankan Defence Attaché of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, is to face a fresh trial at the Westminster Magistrates Court on Friday, 18th October 2019 for threatening to kill the protesters by making repeated slit throat gestures outside the High Commission in London.

The incident which forms the basis of the charges against Brigadier Fernando occurred on 4th February 2018 when Brigadier Fernando was filmed, whilst on duty in his military uniform, making repeated cut- throat gestures to the protestors who were conducting a peaceful demonstration outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London. The victims felt intimidated by these threats and brought a Private Prosecution against Brigadier Fernando as the Police has let them down by claiming that he has diplomatic immunity and therefore cannot be arrested. The International Centre for Prevention and Prosecution of Genocide (ICPPG) assisted the victims to bring the private prosecutors with the legal representations of the Public Interest Law Centre (PILC).

As Brigadier Fernando chose to ignore the summons issued by the Westminster Magistrates Court, the Court was left with no option to proceed in his absence. Accordingly, the first trial took place in absentia on Monday, 21st January 2019 and he was found guilty of two charges under the Public Order Act (sections 4a and 5). He was convicted of intending to and causing harassment, alarm and distress with his gestures, which were made after he had taken photos and videoed Tamil protestors. The panel of three honourable British Judges, headed by the Chief Magistrate Ms Sonia Henley, who carefully considered the evidence, found Brigadier Priyanka Fernando guilty and issued an Arrest Warrant, without bail.

However, the warrant was subsequently withdrawn following the intervention of the FCO who raised an issue upon the pressure of the Sri Lankan government, as to whether Brigadier Fernando was immune from prosecution for the offences due to diplomatic immunity. Accordingly, this was listed for further hearing to consider the issue of immunity.

On 1st February 2019, at Westminster Magistrates Court, before the Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot, Counsel for Brigadier Fernando argued that the Brigadier’s actions were covered by indefinite immunity as they were within his official duties to monitor any anti-Sri Lankan activities or LTTE activities and report them to the Sri Lankan High Commission and to prepare appropriate strategies to safeguard the High Commission. In support, the Defence relied on a “Job Description Document” issued by the Sri Lankan High Commission to Brigadier Fernando which provides that the Brigadier was officially authorized by the Sri Lankan Government to “Monitor any anti-Sri Lankan activities in the UK and report to the High Commissioner and through her to the Intelligent Agencies in Sri Lanka”.

However, the Defence argument was rejected by the Chief Magistrate at a hearing on 1st March 2019 who found that: “It was not part of Brigadier Fernando’s job description to make the alleged cut-throat gestures on the three occasions, it could not be any part of the mission’s function and therefore the Minister Counsellor’s behaviour is not given immunity by Article 39(2) of the Vienna Convention. The Brigadier cannot call on the residual immunity that he would have been able to had the acts been performed in the exercise of this functions.” The Chief Magistrate also noted that the job description required Mr Fernando to “strictly adhere” to “personal behaviour and professional standards.”

Counsel for the Defence then made an application under section 142 of the Magistrates’ Court Act to have the conviction set aside. The case was adjourned to 15th March 2019 to deal with that application.

At the hearing on 15th March 2019, the Defence argued that there had been procedural mistakes in this case which meant that the conviction was invalid. The Chief Magistrate agreed, quashed the conviction and ordered a retrial on 7th May 2019.

On 3rd May 2019, the Defence again made an application to vacate the trial on 7th May 2019 claiming that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has contacted and indicated that the prosecutors are reviewing the materials intending to take over the case. As a result, the case was adjourned for 6th August 2019. Disappointingly, the case was again adjourned due to the delay in disclosure.

Despite the Defence’s consistent attempts to frustrate the proceedings by repeatedly applying for adjournments, the Westminster Magistrates Court has finally listed the case for a summary trial on 18th October 2019. The victims eagerly wait for the hearing to proceed with no further adjournments as this case had been dragged for too long, and they still wait for the justice to be done.

At the last hearing, it was concerning that some individuals close to the Sri Lankan High Commission were present at the hearing and involved in filming the prosecutors, witnesses and protesters in an attempt to intimidate them or persecute them later using the footages. One of them was caught by a Security Officer of the Court taking photographs of protestors through the window from inside the Court building. This was immediately brought to the attention of the Chief Magistrate and she severely warned all those present that it is illegal to take photographs or film anyone involved in this case either inside or outside the Court building. (The International Centre for Prevention and Prosecution of Genocide)

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Latest comments

  • 12
    13

    What this means is that in UK if some body give a middle finger gesture that person can be taken to court saying ” intending to and causing harassment, alarm and distress with this gestures” and get a arrest Warrant!!! What a f… joke is this. Is this a real Magistrates Court or 5th grader’s role play of a Magistrates Court.

  • 4
    7

    Gotambara was in charge of the shinkala airforce dropping droppings from air at yakkas, nagas and veddhas who were running from the stinker missiles. Even now they drop such bombs in the parliament 2500 years after Buddha’s invasion of Naganadu. Blind Eagles research has no end. He will continue to drop droppings from down under.

  • 3
    6

    well here is a way to make a joke of the whole thing.
    informed the court that the brigadier’s action was meant to communicate to the protesters that he will lose his job for not preventing a demonstration in front of the HC

  • 15
    9

    Hate,Hate,Hate this is what is consumed by the Diaspora.It is high time they come to terms with the fact they will never be able to raise there head to destroy Sri Lanka.Stop dreaming of a homeland for Tamils and start dreaming about unitary state of Sri Lanka where younger generation can grow up with love for the country!

    • 10
      8

      Asshok Thangavelu

      “It is high time they come to terms with the fact they will never be able to raise there head to destroy Sri Lanka.”

      True, Sri Lanka already would have been destroyed by their brethren Sinhala/Buddhist.

      “Stop dreaming of a homeland for Tamils and start dreaming about unitary state of Sri Lanka where younger generation can grow up with love for the country!”

      Please leave the decisions to the Hindians.
      Just sit back and enjoy watching how the island is being destroyed by Sinhala/Buddhist fascists every second of the day.

      • 5
        1

        Why not united states instead of a unitary state.?

    • 5
      7

      Mr Thangavelu,
      Very well said. I agree with you fully.

      Btw, I’m assuming you are a relative of the great DIG Thangavelu, a Thomian, a very good friend of mine and a true patriot of Mother Lanka.

    • 12
      0

      Hate consumes all communities in Sri Lanka, not only pro eelam tamils.
      Anybody with half a working brain can clearly see the fruits of that across the island.

      • 5
        3

        Ashok Thangavelu is a fake identity for a Chingkalam. To post his hate for Thamizh, especially the diaspora. Have you ever heard of a Sri Lankan Thamizh with a name Thangavelu or a first name Ashok? It would have been Asokan

    • 8
      2

      Mr. Thandavelu
      Love for the country that discriminate the minorities evry way.possible. break the hindu temple and build the Vihara in Kanniya and Neeraviyadi. Judges discharging convicted Murderers of Of Tamils in Mirusuvil and Rapist in Vanni.
      Police that disobeys court order allowing body to be.cremated.in the compound of GlHindu Temple
      Sacking the Vice Chancellor for allowing cultural show in the University and remembering the dead in Genocidal war
      Holding thousands of acres of land after ten years of war. Building road through the private land with impunity because army.refuses to release the public.road to the International Airport.
      Allow conduct of lectures in the English.medium courses 8n Sinhala in University while Tamil students following the course can.not understand. Police who can not understand Tamil harass Tamil civilians in predominantly Tamil areas.
      What a hypocrite you are

    • 6
      2

      I don’t believe for a second you are a Tamil, you must be a sinhala-buddhist-govi 3rd standard dropout uneducated stupid…a….le.

  • 5
    3

    There is an old saying that the law is not concerned with trivialities, and it beggars belief that the Westminster Magistrate’s Court should consider fit to go on to a re-trial in this case. The Brigadier was not very smart in making that silly gesture but that is what that gesture was – silly. And that is how it should have dealt with. Did the Court seriously believe that the Brigadier’s gesture struck fear and terror into the hearts of those hardened, protesting LTTE supporters? Whatever has happened to common sense? And, whatever has happened to that old, endearing British sense of humour? Perhaps, it is a sign of the decay that has set in Britain that a small group of loud, violent and aggressive LTTE supporters has been able to take even the British courts for a ride.

  • 10
    6

    Sri Lankan soldiers got caught TWICE running child prostitution rings in Haiti while serving the UN forces.
    That shows you their calibre and what kind of characters they are.

  • 3
    3

    UK can’t even bring back the US diplomat’s wife who caused a fatal accident from US after ran away using diplomatic immunity so there isn’t even a case here.

    No one to prosecute former LLTE terrorists & Supporters of LTTE Terrorists?? Joke….

    • 7
      6

      UKDS,

      The UK’s “superior” justice system is able to prosecute a man who scratched his throat but they are unable to prosecute Adele Balasingham for Child abuse and murder who armed children with AK 47 rifles and sent them to the war zone. A joke like no other.

      And guess what? The minorities in SL are attracted to this so-called justice system like a bunch drain flies are attracted to a pile of crap.

      • 4
        3

        Yes pervert be careful. Do not go around scratching your private parts in public in Canada, just like you did in Sri Lanka. You will be arrested for gross indecency.

      • 2
        3

        Any evidence. Even if she has armed the children it.is for self defense of the children to protect them from a.genocidal army that killed children and raped minor girls.with impunity and protected by terrorist state

  • 7
    1

    As a frequent visitor to Sri lanka over the last 30 years i must say i am very sad to see the sheer hatred voiced here. I was astonished to see , while visiting the north of the country a few years ago , a huge larger than life size statue of an army soldier commemorating the victory of the “hero’s”. I asked myself in what other country after a bloody civil war against your fellow citizens would you see such insensitivity. Until the majority Sinhalese see all Sri Lankans as equals the hatred will remain for decades to come.

  • 0
    0

    Good People, Attention!

    You have to admire the sheer chutzpah of the Cocky Brigadier and his defenders the Government of Sri Lanka. The local magistrates will have a fight on their hands trying to rule on this case as we Sri Lankans are masters of procrastination and obfuscations (do not forget the Geneva cases . . .heading for its 10th anniversary) This is yet another instance of our military class showing their prowess at avoiding charges – here at home, ‘no bodies, no case to answer, right?’ Only thing is that our military men have not been able to defend is the pederasts and paedophiles who get caught on UN duty. I am sure they are working on that even as we speak.

    Good People, Dis…..miss!

  • 0
    2

    UK judiciary authorities are interfere the nation sovereignty by turn and twist of legal system of their power-point of gun boat diplomacy of that hegemony.
    Regardless political factor of domination by UK has to know that simple fact which that Sri Lankan is Not or no more that colonial country of House of Windsor.
    Or our legal system not under preview of British “rule of Law”
    .
    We have to have every right to fighting against any form of Terrorism back by Western nation including UK .
    That is our right of sovereignty as a of People of Sri lankan.
    We cannot surrender that ours national sovereignty to UK and by and large his citizens of Tamils terrorist of LTTE carders been protect by power of United Kingdom by House of Windsor.!@@ %
    The so-called governing laws of by Westminster system of judiciary that always give new imputes to after 9/11 USA for Tamil terrorist high hand.
    That shows our island dominated by United of Britain.# @@@@.
    Undeniably that there are things in practically power of UK can do and if they are from privilege community in globe of White Race of population, then there are even so many hidden opportunities been misused by UK.
    That is a law now not that an apply against our soldiers of national securities of Island army personal intimidated by UK judiciary on behalf of Tamil Terrorist

  • 0
    0

    I still , forget their law. He did not finish the job.

  • 0
    0

    Gesture he made made him to leave the country a small gesture front of the world big impact after the global understanding what his acton was.

  • 0
    0

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    • 1
      0

      your moderators hate any comment critical of political agenda of this site viz., supporting tigers aim of creating separate state in the north of sri lanka and destabilizing Sinhalese Buddhist state and ridiculing armed forces for fighting separatists to an end. you buggers cater mainly to Tamil tigers living outside srilanka they seems your Paymasters

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