The Leopard and the Snare
Posted on August 3rd, 2020

Black Leopard Death Court case held on July 29, 2020

A short report

As you would be interested to know, the case relating to the death of the Black Leopard was taken up at the Hatton Magistrate’s Court on July 29, 2020.

The Justice for Animals and Nature organisation ( now in the process of incorporation ) sought to intervene in the Case when the case was resumed.

The legal team comprised:

Anura Meddegoda, P.C. 

Senaka Weeraratna, (Attorney – at – law), and two other Juniors

A number of supporters of our ‘Justice for Animals and Nature’ organisation, were present in court including six monks led by Ven. Omalpe Sobhita Thero, the head of the Sri Bodhiraja Padanama. 

The court proceedings commenced at 9. 35 a.m. Our case was taken up at 11.00 a.m. 

The proceedings dealt mainly with the right of intervention of two external parties that sought to intervene to look after the interest of the dead leopard and animal lovers.

Anura Meddegoda, P.C. made some valid submissions. He pointed out that setting up snares to trap endangered animals was a clear violation of the Fauna and Flora Protection Ordinance, No. 2 of 1937 as amended by a number of later statutes.

Furthermore, setting up snares was a non – bailable offence under the law, and therefore the Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) had erred in not objecting to the release of the suspect by the Police on Bail.

The Magistrate heard submissions from all relevant parties including the lawyers appearing for the two parties seeking to intervene, the DWC and the lawyer for the suspect.

The Magistrate made the point that the interests of the cultivators who grow food in these areas and their need to protect crops from wild animals must also be taken into account.

The Magistrate said that he will issue the Order concerning the Applications to intervene on October 28, 2020, and adjourned Court.

After we left the Court House ( see the photos attached showing us leaving the Court) we were interviewed by the Media at a nearby Buddhist Temple.

Voice cuts were taken from  Ven. Omalpe Sobhita Thero,  Anura Meddegoda, P.C., Senaka Weeraratna and the Officer from the DWC.

TV News Channels screened scenes recorded on that day in Hatton.

Newspapers published accounts of the case.

I was pleased to learn from the Official of the DWC, that 400 snares meant to trap wild animals in the mountainous areas have already been removed and they are giving priority attention to such work and educating the public in that area not to set up snares.

It is heartening to know that Hon. Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered a probe into Leopard deaths in Snares.

Senaka Weeraratna

(Founder member of ‘Justice for Animals and Nature’)

See also

Election Manifestos must carry commitment to protect Animals

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