November 20, 2019
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    Magistrate exceeded her powers - HC

    October 10, 2019

    The Colombo High Court yesterday ordered to remand interdicted IGP Pujith Jayasundara and former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando revising Colombo Chief Magistrate’s order to release them on bail in connection with the Easter Sunday attacks.Delivering his order regarding a revision application filed by Criminal Investigation Department, Colombo High Court Judge Vikum Kaluarachchi observed that the bail order issued by Chief Magistrate had exceeded the powers vested on a Magistrate.The High Court judge decided to revise the Chief Magistrate’s bail order dated July 9, 2019 after observing that bail order made by Chief Magistrate was erroneous.

    The High Court Judge maintained that the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to grant bail on a suspect who had been accused of committing murder under section 296 of the Penal Code.‘In terms of section 13 of the Bail Act, the High Court has jurisdiction to grant bail on the suspects who had been charged under section 296 of the Penal Code. ‘When delivering the bail order, the Magistrate considered that the failure of the suspects to react based on the information received over the terrorist attack was not amounting to an omission and the magistrate observed that there is no sufficient facts against the two suspects to be constitute the murder charge under section 296 of the Penal code. Accordingly she ordered to release the suspects on bail only considering about the section 298 of the Penal code. Although the magistrate can grant bail in terms of section 298 of Penal code the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to grant bail to an accused under Section 296 of Penal code and only the High Court could do so,” the High Court Judge observed.
    The Judge said the State Intelligence Service had forwarded 347 reports regarding Zahran Hashim and the National Thowheed Jamath Organization to the IGP and the Defence Secretary from 2016 until the terrorist attack on Easter Sunday and out of those intelligence reports, 131 intelligence reports were reported to the IGP’s eyes while another 97 were reported to the Defence Secretary but the IGP or the Defence Secretary had not taken any action against such a large number of intelligence reports.



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