A UK court has ordered a retrial of Sri Lanka Army Brigadier Priyanka Fernando who was in absentia convicted of violating UK’s Public Order Act.
In a surprise move Westminster Magistrate’s court chief magistrate Emma Arbuthnot has quashed the conviction of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando on the grounds that court staff had made “procedural mistakes”, The Morning Star reported.
Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was tried in absentia for a ‘threatening slit-throat gesture’ made against a group of LTTE supporters protesting opposite the Sri Lankan High Commission in London on 4 February 2018.
Brigadier Fernando, who was the Defense Advisor at Sri Lanka High Commission in London at the time of the incident, was convicted by the court in absentia on January 21 of causing “harassment, alarm and distress” to three complainants who brought a private prosecution.
His defense has 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.”
The Judge has ordered the retrial to take place on the afternoon of Tuesday May 7.