The Westminister Chief Magistrate cancelled the previous verdict and said as there had been mistakes in the actions of the court officers, the case needed to be re-tried.
During Sri Lanka’s 70th independence day celebrations in London, the Brigadier had turned to the Tamil protestors and made “throat cutting gestures” towards the protesters and the court found him guilty in January.
However, the Barrister representing the Brigadier told court that the documents sent to the courts prior to the trial had been ignored by clerks in the run-up to the trial..
The Chief Magistrate Emma Arbuthnot of Westminster Magistrates Court who ordered the case to be taken up on May 07th, having taken into account the threats faced by him, had given permission for the Brigadier to give evidence from behind a screen.
Taking photos of the witnesses:
The Magistrate also severely warned a Sri Lankan whom the prosecutors claimed had taken photos of the witnesses within the court house.
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.
Amal Abeywardena who had been taking pictures of the witnesses near a court window had been stopped by the security personnel.
“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.”
Photo of the protestors
Amal Abeywardena was later seen leaving the court house with Lord Nesby who had disputed the death figures presented by the UN regarding those killed during the war.
It is available on video how Lord Nesby had reacted angrily when he was asked by a journalist if he denies war crimes allegations were committed.
He was seen leaving after having notified the police that the flags displayed by the protestors were those of the banned LTTE organisation.
The protestors told the police that false complaints were made against a very peaceful protest.
However, it is uncertain if Brigadier Priyanka Fernando would attend the next hearing.
It is also reported that the protestors had observed a minute of silence in memory of those killed in the Christchurch attack.