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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Garner Banister Francis pleaded guilty on the basis of her family abroad, bad health and 80 odd witnesses

Image: Garner seen at the court premises on Friday’

Swiss embassy employee Garner Banister Francis, who was arrested in 2019 for falsely claiming she was abducted, was handed down two years imprisonment suspended for 5 years by the Colombo High Court on Friday.

The guilty plea was lodged on the basis that Ms. Francis’s family was abroad and she was not in good health, her counsel said. With 80 witnesses listed in the indictment, proceedings would also have taken considerable time had it gone to trial.

The sentence was pursuant to Ms. Francis pleading guilty to the charge of violating Section 190 of the Penal Code. It reads: “Whoever intentionally gives false evidence in any stage of a judicial proceeding, or fabricates false evidence for the purpose of being used in any stage of a judicial proceeding, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years, and shall also be liable to fine; and whoever intentionally gives or fabricates false evidence in any other case shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

In November 2019, Ms. Francis lodged a complaint that she was kidnapped and assaulted by five men in Cinnamon Gardens, sexually assaulted, and detained for several hours, during which she was questioned about the issuing of a visa to former CID officer Nishantha Silva.

Additionally, Ms. Francis was imposed a fine of Rs. 5,000 for violating Section 120 of the Penal Code.

Ms. Francis was also asked to pay Rs 2 million as compensation to the State.

Attorneys-at-Law Kalinga Indatissa, Upul Kumarapperuma and Sudharshana Gunewardena represented Ms. Francis. Deputy Solicitor General Janaka Bandara represented the Attorney General’s Department.

ST

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