Cases of rough treatment filed by cop and lawyer

The Welikada Police are inquiring into an incident involving Deputy Minister K. Baiz, and a policeman on the Parliament premises last Tuesday. Mr. Baiz had allegedly abused and threatened a police officer who had refused to open a barrier for the Deputy Minister. Mr. Baiz’s verbal attack was recorded on the policeman’s walkie-talkie and heard in at police stations across Colombo. According to the police, Mr. Baiz had threatened to remove the policeman’s trousers. The policeman has lodged a complaint with the police.

The Deputy Minister denies any verbal abuse of a policeman. He said, “Parliament finished early on Tuesday, and when I came out I could not find my driver or my security team. So I drove my car to the gate and asked the security officers there whether they had seen any of my security men. I then drove over to the car park, where a policeman ordered me to halt.”

The Deputy Minister told the policeman that he was a parliamentarian and asked if the police could help him find his security team. “The policeman said it was not his responsibility. At that point, other police officers were pulling barriers across the road. I asked the policeman to let me pass,” he said.

He refused. A heated exchange then broke out between the Deputy Minister and the policeman.
Mr. Baiz said he had lodged a complaint with the Inspector General of Police, and that he would bring up the matter as a breach of parliamentary privilege. The Welikada Police said both complaints were being investigated.

In a separate incident, involving a policeman and a lawyer, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka has called for immediate action against a police officer of the Bambalapitiya station. Lawyer D. W. C. Mohotti has filed a fundamental rights petition with the Supreme Court alleging that the officer in charge at the Bambalapitiya station had abused him in the presence of his client when he and his client visited the station in connection with a charge of theft.

In his petition, Mr. Mohotti said he had accompanied his client to the station around 10 am on October 24 to meet the OIC. The OIC had allegedly abused the client and insisted he admit to the alleged theft, and that if he did not he would be held under the detention order. When Mr. Mohotti intervened, politely requesting the OIC to refrain from violence but to record a statement from the client, the OIC abused him and ordered him out of the room.

When Mr. Mohotti attempted to leave the room, a police officer pushed him back and demanded his Bar Association identity card. Mr. Mohetti was then taken to the station’s Crimes Division and detained.
Mr. Mohotti said he was later able to contact his colleague, Attorney Ranil Samarasooriya, and asked him to come to the station.

Shortly after, a police officer returned Mr. Mohotti’s Bar Association ID card and ordered him to leave the station. On his arrival at the station, Mr. Samarasooriya told Mr. Mohotti that he had spoken to Senior Superintendent of Police, Gamini Dissanayake (Director Legal), who had promised to intervene immediately.

In his petition, Mr. Mohotti said he had been grossly humiliated by the police, and left embarrassed and helpless. He stated that had it not been for SSP Dissanayake’s timely intervention, he would have been subjected to further harassment and possibly assault.

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