Dec 13, 2019

Travel ban on Swiss envoy extended

The Colombo Magistrate's Court yesterday extended the overseas travel ban imposed on the Swiss Embassy officer Garnier Banister Francis until December 17 and ordered her to undergo a psychiatric examination today.

The case relating to the alleged abduction of a Swiss embassy officer was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday.

The Swiss Embassy local staffer, who is said to have been abducted by an unidentified group on November 25 and assaulted, has been produced at the Office of the Chief Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) in Colombo according to a court order,

Senior state counsel Janaka Bandara told court that accordingly, a forensic examination has been conducted.

The senior state counsel has told the court that the Judicial Medical Officer has decided that it is appropriate to submit a report by a team of specialist psychiatrists about the officer's mental health. He requested the court to order the woman to be referred to a specialist psychiatric team and to obtain a report.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate accepting the request ordered the JMO to present Ms. Francis to a specialist psychiatric team for evaluation and obtain a report.

Responding to a question raised by the magistrate, the senior state counsel informed the court that according to the order, she could be referred for a psychiatric examination tomorrow and a report on the matter would be submitted to court on the 17th.

Accordingly, the magistrate has ordered the extension of the travel ban on Ms. Francis until the progress of the investigations is presented in court on the 17th.

Attorney-at-law Upul Kumarapperuma representing Ms. Francis told the court that his client had been making statements to the CID for several days and that she was not in good health.

The Attorney requested the court to inform Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Attorney General's Department to explore the possibility of questioning her at the Swiss Ambassador's official residence.

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara however, opposed the request.

The Chief Magistrate told the Court that the Swiss Ambassador's official residence is a territory of another state and that legal issues can be arisen in accordance with Sri Lankan law when making statements there. The magistrate stated that it is appropriate to record the statements at the CID.

After considering the submissions, the magistrate ordered that the case be called on the 17th.

Janaka Bandara appeared on behalf of the government and a panel of lawyers appeared on behalf of Garnier Banister.

The Criminal Investigation Department has recorded several statements from Ms. Francis. She has also undergone a forensic examination to ascertain whether she has been assaulted or sexually abused.

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