A cobra taken into police custody and a night club dancer who lamented the loss of her pet were reunited yesterday when a Colombo Court ordered the police to release the reptile to its rightful owner.
Delivering the judgment over the release of the cobra, Colombo Fort Magistrate Kanishka Wijeratne ordered that the cobra be released to the dancer on a bond of Rs.50,000.
The matter came up in connection with the case filed against the dancer on charges of having kept a cobra in a room at a night club in Kollupitiya. The suspect dancer was charged under animal cruelty laws.
At a previous hearing of the case, lawyers appearing for the suspect dancer had made a request for the release of the cobra to the suspect Nirosha Wimalaratne alias Dilani from the custody of the Dehiwala Zoological Gardens.
The Kollupitiya police had filed a charge sheet against the suspect under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance. Police said the suspect had acted to cause unnecessary pain or suffering to a cobra. Police said she had committed a punishable offence under section 2 (1) (b) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance.
The police said the woman had prevented the cobra from continuing with its natural feeding pattern and thus hindered its growth.
President’s Counsel Rienzie Arsakularatne with Wasantha Batagoda and Sudarshani Gunaratne appearing for the suspect informed Court that the charges leveled against their client cannot be maintained and thereby the suspect be released from the case. The defence further maintained that the charges filed by the police are contrary to the facts of the case.
Further Magisterial inquiry into the incident was postponed for January 10. (Lakmal Sooriyagoda)