The Colombo Fort Magistrate today reserved the judgment over a request made for the release of a cobra to the woman who had allegedly kept it in a room at a night club in Kollupitiya, for November 15.
When the case came up before Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne, President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsakularatne appearing for the suspect Nirosha Wimalaratne alias Dilani moved Court that the cobra be released to his client under any condition. Mr. Arsakularatne argued that there is no legal barrier to keep an animal like a snake in the possession of a person. He contended that even though the cobra comes under the dangerous animal category, there is no barrier to keep possession of a snake. “If there is a complaint received against such an animal, the Magistrate can issue a suitable order in respect of a dangerous animal. My client has affection to this reptile like other people are interested in pets like dogs. My client likes to keep a snake. She did not use the snake for dancing purposes,” the Defence counsel argued.
At a previous magisterial inquiry, Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne had directed the police to file a charge sheet yesterday, but it was not done so.
Kollupitiya Police argued that the police which investigated the matter arrested the woman on charges of having violated the provisions of the Fauna and Flora Protection Act and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animal Ordinance. Sergeant Rajapakse maintained that a dangerous animal cannot be kept in possession and as such they would object to the release of the cobra to the suspect. Police seized the cobra, and later handed it over to the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens.
President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsakularatne with Wasantha Batagoda, Thejitha Koralage and Sudarshani Gunaratne appeared for the suspect.
Sergeant Ekanayake, Sub Inspector Dissanayake and Sergeant Rajapakse of the Kollupitiya police prosecuted. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)