Magistrate directs GA to submit report on journalist’s laptop taken by CID

Wednesday, 17 June 2020 02:05 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Lawyers for Bastians want a report from Govt. Analyst to ensure computer is not tampered with
  • Magistrate directs GA to submit report

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne yesterday directed the Government Analyst (GA) to examine whether any alterations had been made to the laptop seized from journalist Dharisha Bastians after her lawyers made an application to Court.

The Magistrate directed CID officials to get a report from the GA to ascertain if the laptop computer had been tampered with between 4 and 16 June, the days, her lawyers say, the computer was in the possession of the Police.

The laptop was produced in Court yesterday by the CID when the case against Swiss Embassy employee Garnier Banister Francis, who is at the centre of an abduction drama which allegedly took place last November, was taken up.

Francis is facing charges under the Penal Code for exciting or attempting to excite disaffection against the State as well as for giving or fabricating false evidence by making up a story of her abduction.

She was accompanied to court by an Embassy official yesterday.

Bastians’ name has been linked to an investigation into an alleged abduction involving the employees of the Swiss Embassy.

CI Kelum Karunaratne of the CID who reported to Court on the progress into investigations said that the CID had obtained a search warrant and visited the residence of Bastians and taken the laptop computer into their custody. A receipt for this had been issued to the father-in-law of the journalist Upali Indragupta.

Attorney-at-Law Shiraz Noordeen and Pasan Weerasinghe appearing with Hamdhan Hussein for Bastians informed the Magistrate that the CID had visited the journalist’s residence on two occasions before 10 June, when her laptop was taken away by the CID, and as there was a suspicion that the computer could have been tampered with, an application was being made to Court to get a report from the GA about the contents of the laptop.

The CID officer also requested the Magistrate to direct the GA to expedite its examination of the telephone of the Swiss Embassy employee and a report be submitted soon.

Counsel Upul Kumarapperuma appeared on behalf of Francis.

The case will be heard again on 21 July.