"Magistrate Had No Jurisdiction To Deport British Tourist With Buddha Tattoo" - ASG

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jayasuriya PC who appeared on behalf of the state in the case regarding the British tourist who wore a Buddha tattoo conceded that the Magistrate had no authority to deport a person from the country.

Then he also submitted that the people who wear tattoos belong to a different social class. "You and I my lord and state department workers would nor wear tattoos. So we have to look at this in that context" Jayasuriya said today when the matter was taken up at the Supreme Court.

The arrest was made by a police officer in view that the tattoo was an insult to Lord Buddha and would cause some sort of tension in the country. The petition was submitted stating the police officer did not have authority to arrest or detain a person on the grounds on which she was arrested.

The petition also submitted that she had visited Sri Lanka twice before without any problem.

The bench observed that there was a problem in the system that needed to be 'oiled'.

J C Weliamuna, Pulasthi Hewamanne, Thishya Veragoda and Hafeel Farisz on the instructions of Vishwa De Livera Tennakoon appeared on behalf of the petitioner Naomi Coleman.

Leave to proceed was granted and the matter is to taken up for argument on December 15.

Naomi Coleman (37), a British tourist, was arrested at the Katunayake International Airport  after the tattoo on her right arm was spotted by Airport authorities.



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