Posted on 12.08.2019 by Chandana Sirimalwatte in Top News with 0 Comments
Former Defence Attaché at Lankan High Commission in London Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was found guilty at the Westminster Magistrate’s Court on 6th Friday, for committing public order offences over the ‘throat slitting gesture’ in London, 2018.
The Brigadier displayed a warning during a demonstration by LTTE activists in front of the Lankan High Commission in London on February 4, 2018. The incident led to controversy, with pressure for the removal of the Brigadier from office.
It was also reported that Brigadier Fernando was fined £2000, prosecution cost of £1842.80, victim surcharge of £127 & compensation of £450.
Fernando was found guilty of violating Section 4A (1) and (5) of the Public Order Act 1986, with the court stating that his actions and gestures were threatening, caused harassment and that he intended them to be so.
In this October, Referring to this case against Brigadier Priyanka Fernando at the Westminister Magistrates’ Court, the Foreign Ministry requested the UK government to honour the diplomatic immunity which he is entitled to as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.
However, the Westminister Magistrates’ Court ruled that the defendant is not protected by diplomatic immunity and delivering Friday’s verdict, the Senior District Judge said he sees no reason to re-visit that ruling.
The Lanka government continues to maintain that Brigadier Priyanka Fernando as a diplomat who was attached to the Lanka High Commission in London is entitled to diplomatic immunity as per Article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, during the period of the incident.
Issuing a statement following yesterday’s judgment by the Chief Magistrate of the Westminster Magistrates’ Court, the Lankan Foreign Ministry said that the judgement ‘is a politically motivated action.’
“The sequence of events – the private prosecution, failure to uphold Brigadier Fernando’s diplomatic immunities, the timing of the delivering of the judgement on the eve of the UK elections, the alleged unruly and intimidatory behaviour of the supporters of the prosecution during Court hearings who were also carrying LTTE flags during these hearings, the alleged leaking of privileged information submitted in Court by the defence to the public domain by the private prosecution, makes abundantly clear that this is a politically motivated action,” the statement said.