Alleged sexual abuse claim by Swiss visitor: Suspect arrested and released on bail

Police say swift action was initiated

by Suresh Perera

A Spa therapist, who is alleged to have attempted to sexually abuse a Swiss woman at a luxury resort at Wellawaya, was released on bail and ordered to be present in court on February 26, the next date of the hearing.

Wellawaya acting Officer-in-Charge, Inspector D. M. Wijesundara said the suspect was arrested the same day the complaint was lodged with the police and produced before the Magistrate’s Court the following morning."We acted fast on the complaint of the Swiss tourist and despite the hotel in question being situated about six kilometres away, the suspect was taken into custody around 9.00 pm the same day", he said.

If there was a delay, it was due to the difficulty on the part of the complainant to lodge the entry in English as both she and her partner were French-speaking, IP Wijesundara explained.

"They were hanging around inside the police station trying to figure out how to write the complaint in English when we declined to accept a written version in French", he said.

He said that later the Swiss visitor had wanted a copy of the complaint lodged in English, which took hours for her to put down, but this was not possible under Sri Lankan law. "A receipt acknowledging the complaint was offered, but she was not satisfied".

"She insisted on a copy of the complaint saying she needed it for insurance purposes", the Inspector asserted.

Dismissing claims that the police seemed to favour the suspect, the OIC noted that the swift action to arrest the suspect the same night proved there was no injustice done.

"Why should we support a hotel employee when foreign visitors are important to our country. Complaints lodged by tourists are therefore given priority attention as we want them to take back fond memories of their visit", he explained.

He said the hotel had offered a hefty discount to the Swiss couple after the alleged incident, but apparently they were not satisfied that they were not offered a wholly gratis stay in the property.

After The Sunday Island story, the IGP had called for a report from the DIG in charge of the Uva Range.

"We submitted all the reports which outlined the action police initiated on the complaint. Everything was in order as we did our duty", OIC Wijesundara said.

The Sri Lanka Tourism Authority contacted The Sunday Island to assure that the alleged incident was looked into. Every indication was that the hotel in question had done its best to inquire into the alleged sexual abuse claim.

The Swiss tourist had even spoken the Director Operations of the hotel and the General Manager had accompanied her to the police station to lodge an entry, it said.

It was not possible to contact the Swiss visitor for further comment on the developments as she had left Sri Lanka’s shores on February 1.

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