Ruling on appeal of Sri Lanka’s Defence Attaché to UK HC expected soon

The ruling on the appeal of Sri Lanka’s former Defence Attaché to High Commission in the UK Brigadier Priyanka Fernando is expected in December or early January, foreign media reported.

He has appealed against an earlier ruling by a district court that a hand gesture

he made in front of LTTE sympathetic protesters near the Sri Lankan High Commission on February 4, 2018, during an Independence Day event organized by the mission, amounted to threats and was not covered by diplomatic immunity.

After a one day hearing on December 2 the High Court judge had reserved the decision.

Brigadier Fernando’s legal representatives argued that as an officer attached to the mission, his actions were covered by diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. They have pointed to Article 39 (2) which “provides for residual immunity with respect to acts performed by such a person in the exercise of his functions.”

David Southey, QC, who represented the Brigadier told the Court that his actions were still protected under the Vienna Convention, an international agreement that forms the basis for diplomatic immunity,’ foreign media reported.

He argued that the soldier’s actions were covered as they were performed while he was carrying out his job, pointing to Article 39(2) which “provides for residual immunity with respect to acts performed by such a person in the exercise of his functions.”

Peter Carter, QC, representing the petitioners argued that diplomatic immunity “is not impunity” and does not cover all acts committed by a diplomat in his role.

 

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