British HC inquiring into attack on UK couple

BRITISH HC Alistair-BurtBrawl involving Minister Mervyn’s son at night club

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Rhythm and Blues night club where Public Relations Minister Mervyn Silva’s son Malaka got involved in another brawl on Saturday (Pic by Dharmasena Welipitiya)

British High Commission is inquiring into the circumstances under which a British couple had been assaulted by Public Relations Minister, Mervyn Silva’s son, Malaka and some of his associates, in the early hours of Saturday (Nov. 1) at a night club down Duplication Road. The victims suffered injuries on their heads and faces.

Responding to a query by The Island yesterday afternoon, BHC spokesperson said that the Consular Section was handling the case though a statement couldn’t be made at the moment. She said the BHC was yet to speak with the couple.

2079Mudered_tourist_Sri_Lanka_JThe incident was the first involving British tourists since former Chairman of the Tangalle Pradeshiya Sabha, Sampath Vidanapathirana and three others were sentenced to 20 years rigorous imprisonment last July over the killing of British aid worker Khuram Sheikh and gang-raping of his girlfriend at a resort in Tangalle in Dec 2011.

Addressing the media at a hurriedly called briefing at police headquarters, Police Spokesman, SSP Ajith Rohana said that the police had been looking for six persons who had been with Malaka at the time of the brawl at Rhythm and Blues 19/1, Duplication Road, in the Bambalapitiya police area. The club was frequented by foreigners, he said.

The police identified the victims as 43-year-old Scotsman, James Francis, an engineer working for a local firm and his 24-year-old girl friend, Belinda Mackenzie. Both carried British passports. Belinda had come a few days earlier to celebrate her fiance’s birthday.

The official said that the Bambalapitiya police had launched an inquiry after having received a complaint from an associate of Malaka. Asked whether, the police had received a complaint from the couple, SSP Rohana said that though the police hadn’t received a complaint a decision had been taken made to inquire into the incident. Having described the British couple as the aggrieved party, the Police Spokesman said that Malaka had been taken into custody while receiving treatment at a private hospital as several statements including those taken from the couple as well as CCTV footage implicated Malaka and his associates.

Aluthkada Magistrate Chandima Liyanage remanded Malaka till November 4 pending an identification parade.

Responding to a query, the police official said that Malaka, too, had received injuries on his face.

Before the arrest was made the police recorded statements from the foreigners. SSP Rohana acknowledged that the British couple had initially indicated that they weren’t interested in an inquiry.

The Police Spokesman declined to divulge the statements made by the aggrieved party. According to him, about 12 more statements were to be recorded in connection with the ongoing inquiry.