The Sri Lankan government sought to influence an Australian police investigation and prosecution of three Australian citizens charged with terrorism offences in 2007 over their support of the Tamil Tigers.
Sri Lankan Deputy Solicitor-General Yasantha Kodagoda exercised extensive control over aspects of the Sri Lankan arm of the federal police investigation, including making demands that he be able to advise local witnesses about their evidence and be present when they testified.
Mr Kodagoda told Australian officials he would tell the witnesses not to testify unless he was able to advise them about their testimony, and asked to review Sri Lankan witness statements before they were finalised.
The need to interview Sri Lankan military and police personnel arose because federal agents had to prove under Australian law that the Tamil Tigers were a terrorist group.
All terrorism charges against Arumugan Rajeevan, Aruran Vinayagamoorthy and Sivrajah Yathavan were dropped last year. In December, the trio pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of sending money to a terrorist organisation.
Defence lawyer Fiona Todd said that the reliance on Sri Lankan officials to help sustain the initial terrorism charges had made Australia a partisan player in a bloody civil war. The Australian people have paid at least $10 million for the privilege of doing the dirty work of the Sri Lankan government, she said.
The Age can also reveal that the Sri Lankan government - whose complaint sparked the Australian police investigation in early 2005 - viewed the case as a means of overcoming Australia s refusal to list the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist group.
After charges were laid in 2007, Sri Lanka s foreign minister raised the case with the Australian government at least three times, each time lobbying unsuccessfully for Australiato ban the Tamil Tigers