Aug 04, 2020, 17:25:25

Scottish man accused of battering Sri Lankan finally clears name after six year battle

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A Scot has finally cleared his name after being accused of battering the notorious son of a government official while working in Sri Lanka.

James Casserly, from Shotts, Lanarkshire, has spent £20,000 on travel and legal costs since a rammy with Malaka Silva and his entourage at a nightclub in Sri Lanka in 2014.

The former engineer, 48, was hailed a hero for standing up to Silva, who is famous for his partying and run-ins with the law on the south Asian island.

But Silva lodged a counter claim of assault against James which cost him his dream job and forced him to travel 5000 miles back and forth from Scotland seven times to face allegations made against him.

Now, a hearing at Sri Lanka’s chief magistrate court has finally concluded that no charges are to be pursued against James.

He said: 'I’m ecstatic. This has been six years of anguish.

I lost a very good job and it’s cost me nearly £20,000 in flights, hotels, expenses and lawyers fees going back there.

I’ve already spoken to my lawyer about launching a case for compensation'.

James, who was working in Sri Lanka at the time of the incident, says he was defending his former girlfriend from advances made by Silva, the son of a politician, when he punched him in the face as the couple celebrated his birthday at the Rhythm & Blues nightclub.

James told how he was wrestled to the ground within seconds while Silva’s bodyguards kicked him about the head.

Silva, who was in the venue despite a court ban on entering nightclubs over previous claims of unruly behaviour, was arrested along with six other suspects.

Meanwhile, Silva’s father claimed the incident had been orchestrated by his political enemies to discredit him in the midst of Sri Lanka’s elections.

James said: 'I was just protecting my girlfriend at the time, as any man would do. But Silva then went to the press and said I was beating my girlfriend up and he intervened to help her. He made me sound like some kind of thug and that was all over the papers.

When I got charged, I was so determined to take this all the way and clear my name'.

James was made an official suspect in the counter case and placed on court bail. After losing his job due to the negative publicity and returning to the UK, he still had to travel to Sri Lanka whenever the case called to avoid a warrant being issued for his arrest.

But the case was hit by lengthy delays as the attorney general’s office in Sri Lanka decided how to deal with the allegations made against the two men.

James was excused from yesterday’s hearing due to coronavirus travel restrictions but his lawyer reported back the good news. He said: 'I knew I was 100 per cent in the right.

What Silva was claiming was total lies and I was determined to see it through. This wasn’t going to blacken my name.

'I had to go to court several times and also do ID parades. I even had to get a police escort to court by guys with machine guns. I had a great job out there and it was going well for me until this happened. This has been a long time coming'.

James’s lawyer, Shaminda Rodrigo, said it took six years to rule James out as a suspect because of 'administrative delay' and said he may still have to return to Sri Lanka in the future to give evidence.

He told yesterday: 'It was decided that he is no longer a suspect and will no longer have to attend court.

In respect of the other case against Malaka Silva, there are not yet instructions as to what they will do about him. He could be charged in the magistrates court or even indicted in the high court, depending on the decision of the attorney general'.

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