HC orders pre-trial probe

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Colombo High Court Judge Namal Balalle on Friday (5) ordered a pre- trial investigation to be conducted on 12 October, related to the case filed against Garnia Bannister Francis, the local employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, who was allegedly involved in an abduction incident.

She has also been accused of furnishing bogus information, with the intention of destabilising the Government.

The Attorney General indicted Francis, before the High Court and on charges of lodging a fabricated complaint with the CID.

In her complaint, the local Swiss Embassy employee had stated that on 25 November in 2019, she had been abducted by a five-member group at Cinnamon Gardens, had been threatened with firearms and detained for several hours.

The accused in her complaint had stated that her abductors had then questioned her with regard to the whereabouts of former CID officer Nishantha Silva, who had fled the country at that time.

Furthermore, the accused in her complaint had alleged that her abductors had proceeded to sexually abuse her.

Later, a Second Officer, attached to the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, had lodged a complaint with the then Acting Inspector General of Police, that one of their employees, Garnia Francis, a resident of Maligawatta, had been abducted on 25 November, 2019 by an unidentified group of five, at Cinnamon Gardens in Colombo.

The Swiss Embassy official had complained to the CID, that Francis had been grilled by her abductors, with regard to the issuance of a visa to CID officer Nishantha Silva, being illegally detained for several hours before her release.

Accordingly, based on advice received from the Acting IGP, the CID had begun a probe into the incident and in her complaint, it had been mentioned that the accused had allegedly been abducted whilst she had been on her way to her child’s school.

During the course of the probe, though Francis had been instructed to provide a statement to the CID by the Court, she had failed to comply with that order.

The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court then ordered to impound her passport and the Court then order her to provide a statement to the CID, before 9 December, 2019.

Later, on 16 December of that year, based on instructions from the AG, Garnia Bannister Francis was named as a suspect, in the case and upon her arrest, she was produced before the Magistrate’s Court by the CID. The suspect, who was remanded, was then ordered to be enlarged on bail by the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court, on 30 December, 2019.

By Hansi Nanayakkara