UK court finds Sri Lankan Brigadier Priyanka Fernando guilty
A UK court has found Sri Lankan Brigadier Priyanka Fernando, guilty of violating the Public Order Act.
The Westminster Magistrates Court ordered his arrest over his behaviour during a protest staged outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London last year.
Fernando, otherwise known as ‘Brigadier Fernando’, has been accused of
running his fingers across his throat, at a public event, in order to threaten Tamil protestors.
He was prosecuted under the Public Order Act 1986, for using threatening behaviour and visible representations whereby the victim is likely to believe that such violence will be used.
In early 2018 protestors were gathered outside the Sri Lankan Embassy in London, protesting against the treatment of Tamils by the Sri Lankan Government. Embassy and Consular staff had gathered to celebrate Sri Lankan Independence Day. Brigadier Fernando was attending the celebrations.
Brigadier Fernando filmed protestors from outside the embassy before returning inside. He returned and made gestures towards the protestors, repeatedly running his forefinger across his throat whilst maintaining eye contact with the protestors.
The Public Interest Law Centre took take the case to Westminster Magistrates Court on behalf of their clients who were attending the protests. Brigadier Fernando had looked directly at them whilst making the threatening gestures – after videoing them – causing them to fear the threats would be carried out against them.