Mar 04, 2019

Brig. Priyankara’s actions not covered by Vienna Convention – British Court Featured

The British courts had determined that while Brigadier Priyankara Fernando was being accorded diplomatic immunity by the British Government during the period he served as the Military Attache of the Sri Lankan High Commission in London, making death threats was not a part of his duties.

The West Minister Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot announced her verdict after the defence told court that at the time of the said gesture it was the duty of the Military Attache’s duty to provide security to the High Commission.

The brigadier was tried in absence and found guilty of violating sections 5 and 4A of the Public Order Act, with the court stating that his actions were threatening, caused harassment, and that he intended them to be so.

A British court has revoked the arrest warrant for a Sri Lankan brigadier who was found guilty of intentionally harassing Tamil protestors, pending a further hearing on February 1st to determine the status of his diplomatic immunity.

'Complies with Brig. Fernando’s job description’

Barrister Nicholas Wayne in his defence argument said that making lit-throat gestures at Tamil protesters was part of the job description for Sri Lanka’s military attaché in London,

The judge noted that the job description required Mr Fernando to “strictly adhere” to “personal behaviour and professional standards.”

In her findings, the judge said “it was not part of his job description to draw his fingers across his throat on the three occasions he is said to have done that, and therefore he is not covered by the Vienna Convention.”

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