You can read 9 more articles this month
A SRI LANKAN soldier had his conviction for threatening Tamil protesters quashed today as a judge ordered a retrial.
In a surprise move chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot quashed the conviction of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando on the grounds that court staff had made procedural “mistakes.”
The soldier served as Sri Lanka’s military attache in London where he was caught on camera making sinister slit-throat gestures towards protesters from the country’s beleaguered Tamil minority.
He was found guilty in January under the Public Order Act of causing “harassment, alarm and distress” towards three complainants who brought a private prosecution.
His defence later lodged a complaint with Westminster magistrates’ court saying that certain legal correspondence had been ignored by clerks in the run-up to the trial.
The judge accepted the complaint telling the court her staff had made “a series of mistakes that led to a defendant being convicted when he assumed the matter was going to be adjourned.”
Ms Arbuthnot ordered that a retrial take place on the afternoon of Tuesday May 7 and accepted that prosecution witnesses can give evidence from behind a screen.
Private prosecutor Peter Carter QC warned: “There’s a gentleman in the public gallery who in the adjournment one of the security had cause to stop taking photographs of people.
“I’ve been shown pictures of that same man taking pictures of witnesses in this case.
“We have reason to believe that man is attached to the [Sri Lankan] high commission.”
The judge described this behaviour as “very unfortunate.”
The Conservative peer and Sri Lanka supporter Lord Naseby observed the hearing.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.