The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court today issued a temporary travel ban on the Swiss Embassy employee who was allegedly threatened by a group of unidentified men until December 9.
The Magistrate also directed the employee to provide a statement to the CID within that time.
When the case was taken up before Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne, the CID informed Court that the Swiss Embassy employee’s name was found to be Garnier Banister Francis but her current residence could not be located.
Representing the Attorney General’s Department, Senior State Counsel (SSC) Janaka Bandara informed the Magistrate that when the CID tried to get a statement from the Swiss Ambassador, Embassy officials had refused to provide any assistance.
“However, the Second Officer to the Ambassador, Rahul Imbatch had verbally provided a statement to the CID about the whole incident but the Embassy had failed to provide the necessary information about the particular employee,” a CID officer said.
SSC Janka Bandara said in the B report the CID had mentioned that the employee was a resident of an apartment at Maligakanda.
He said when the CID was conducting investigations at the apartment premises, the apartment security officer had told the CID officers that the employee’s mother had told the security guard that her family had left the apartment to go abroad.
“Investigations also revealed that during the day in which the incident had occurred the woman had attended a parent-teacher meeting at St. Bridget’s Convent and since she is currently missing, the CID had to record statements from the school staff as well,” SSC Bandara said.
Explaining the legal procedure to request a travel ban, he said according to the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC) Section 115, the CID had to continue its investigations into the matter.
“As mentioned in Section 115, the current situation is that investigations cannot be completed in twenty-four hours and Ms. Banister is missing from her residence,” SSC Bandara said.
He said the CID and the AG’s department could not prepare the legal documents since there was a lack of support from Ms Banister’s side and the issue has become a serious matter to the country.
“When we are trying to find her, she is not available. We want to know what exactly happened on that day and it is her responsibility to cooperate with us and solve this matter,” SSC Bandara said.
He said investigations had also revealed that the employee's husband, who is an officer at the Nations Trust Bank was also aware of the particular incident but his contact number was not working.
“We need to get a statement on whether she was actually abducted. If not, who had framed her to create such a story? There are several questions to be answered,” SSC Bandara said.
Considering the evidence the Magistrate had banned the embassy employee from leaving the country until December 9. (Yoshitha Perera)