The Chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot quashed the conviction of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando on the grounds that court staff had made procedural “mistakes.” Fernando served as Sri Lanka’s military attaché in London where he was caught on camera making sinister slit-throat gestures towards protesters from the country’s beleaguered Tamil minority. The case was being heard for around a year.
The Sri Lankan Government had notified the UK Government through the High Commission in London that as the Brigadier is under diplomatic immunity he cannot be charged.
However, the documents sent to the Westminster Courts by the Foreign and Commonwealth Ministry had been misplaced by the court staff.
With the Chief Magistrate ordering a retrial, the hopes of the LTTE Diaspora activists were dashed.
The protestors had come out of the Court House and had been acting violently and trying to abuse Sri Lankans in foul language in an attempt to intimidate and agitate them.
Several persons who had faced this situation had complained about it to the Westminster Courts and Police.
As the LTTE is a banned terrorist organisation, complaints were made to the London Terrorism Prevention unit regarding the displaying of LTTE flags and the LTTE leader by these Tamil protestors.
Janaka Alahapperuma reporting from London