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Tuesday, October 3, 2023

BASL wants action against cop violence inside court complex

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) yesterday demanded an impartial inquiry into an alleged attack by police in the Jaffna Courts complex last Monday (19).

A senior spokesperson for the BASL told The Island that those responsible should be brought to justice without delay. The BASL threw its weight behind members of the legal profession practicing in the district, who last Tuesday decided to boycott Court sittings until all seven police personnel involved in the attack were arrested.

A spokesman for Jaffna lawyers told ‘The Island’ that they expected the Chief Justice, Judges of the Supreme Court and the BASL to intervene on their behalf.

The following is the statement issued by the BASL: The attention of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka has been drawn to an incident which occurred within the premises of the Jaffna courts complex, in the lobby itself where a person who was waiting for his lawyer was assaulted severely and dragged away by a group of policemen who were in mufti from the Kopay Police. This had happened in the presence of lawyers and the public who had come to the court house and the court staff, and more importantly, when one of the courts viz Magistrate’s court was in session. We see this as a blatant violation of basic norms which should govern police conduct, especially within a court house which has to be treated with respect and sanctity. We are informed that the learned magistrate was sitting at the time of this incident and we are of the view that, in the first instance, an immediate apology should be tendered to court by the respective authorities to the Judge concerned for the serious misconduct of the police officers which, without doubt, amounts to contempt of court, if established.

Also action has to be taken by the Inspector General of Police, in whom we have every confidence, to bring the perpetrators to justice by investigating this incident forthwith by a senior independent officer or officers and bring the offenders to book. The identity of the offenders will not be difficult to establish as it was seen by lawyers and members of the public who had clearly watched this incident with understandable shock. The full due process of the law should be promptly and without favour be placed in motion and the perpetrators brought to justice, as only then it will allay the fear in minds of the public and that this type of brutal conduct by the law enforcement officers will not be tolerated by the police hierarchy or the general public.

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