Lawyers challenge woman's arrest
Sept 1, 2012
The lawyers who appeared on behalf of a young woman who was arrested on charges of having kept a cobra in a room at a Kollupitiya night club argued in Court that her arrest was illegal.

Defence counsel R.A.P. Ranawaka presenting a lengthy submission before Colombo Fort Magistrate maintained that the offence committed by his client comes neither under the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance nor the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animal Ordinance as police said.

Counsel observed that if his client had committed an offence under these ordinances, all the gypsies in the country should have been arrested and produced in Court by police. Counsel observed that a cobra is a reptile but not an endangered species and thereby his client cannot be charged. Counsel further informed Court that the arresting his client by police could be considered as a breach of her rights and she would file a Fundamental Rights case before Supreme Court, if police took measures to proceed with the case. Finally, counsel moved Court that his client be released from the case as there is no legal point to be proceeded.

Meanwhile, in reply to the allegation made by lawyers, the Kollupitiya police informed Court that they initiated investigations into the incident following a telephone call received to the 119 police emergency service stating that several women who were inside the room in the club were frightened by the woman with the cobra.

Having considered both parties’ arguments, Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne ordered that the suspect be released on two sureties of Rs.50,000. Further Magisterial inquiry was fixed for September 27.

In this case, in a complaint to the Kollupitiya police, a security officer of the Cleopatra Night Club in Colombo 3 said the woman employee of the night club had kept a cobra with her for two days.

He said he was compelled to lodge the complaint because the other women who were inside the room were frightened by the woman with the cobra.

The Kollupitiya police who investigated the matter arrested the woman on charges of having violated the provisions of Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance and the Prevention of the Cruelty to Animal Ordinance. Police seized the cobra, and later handed it over to the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka