The Deputy Labour Relations Minister Dr. Mervyn Silva yesterday expressed his regret over an incident where he had entered a newspaper office and had abused and threatened journalists. He assured the Colombo Magistrate that he would never threaten journalists again.
The Deputy Minister gave this assurance when he appeared before the Colombo Magistrate on charges of criminal intimidation, death threats and verbally abusing journalists after entering the Divaina newspaper office in 2001. The suspect was charged with being member of an unlawful assembly intent to commit criminal intimidation of journalists.
According to the complaint Hewa Koparage Mervyn Silva had entered the Divaina newspaper office on October 22, 2001 and threatened a journalist with death and had scolded him in obscene language.
When the case came up before Court yesterday, Attorney at Law Lakshman Ranasinghe appearing for Mervyn Silva informed Court that his client regretted the incident, and made an application to settle the case.
Counsel Angelo Benedict appearing for the aggrieved journalist Mr. Janitha Seneviratne and Assistant Manager Upali Newspapers Limited, Mr. Upali Abeygunawardena, stated that the case could be settled if an assurance was given that there would be no repetition of the incident by the suspect, Deputy Minister.
Mervyn Silva through his Counsel re-assured Court that he would not threaten journalists and stated that the journalist could complain to Court anytime if he did so.
The Additional Magistrate settled the matter after the assurance was given by Mervyn Silva who was present in Court.
Along with Mervyn Silva seven others were charged and later discharged. The Kotahena police informed Court that the first charge of being a member of an unlawful assembly could also be withdrawn if the parties agreed to settle the issue.
The court allowed the application to settle the case and discharged the suspect, Mervyn Silva.