Written by Staff Writer
07 Dec, 2019 | 9:52 pm
COLOMBO (News 1st) – A UK court in London yesterday, in absentia, convicted Brigadier Priyanka Fernando of violating UK’s Public Order Act, by an offensive gesture and fined £4419 and 80 pence after the court ruled that he was not protected by diplomatic immunity.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations issued a release in this regard today (December 07).
Issuing a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka said, the government of Sri Lanka continues to maintain Brigadier Fernando as a diplomat who was attached to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London and is entitled to diplomatic immunity as per article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961.
The statement further added, during proceedings the court conceded that the summons procedure was not conducted in an ideal manner and this gave rise to a retrial.
It adds, according to available evidence, demonstrators who had staged the protest in front of the Sri Lanka High Commission as well as those who protested in front of the Westminister magistrates court during the court hearings had used flags of the LTTE, which is a proscribed organization in the UK.
The Ministry of Foreign Relations says, 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.
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