Attorney General (AG) Dappula De Livera has followed up his advice to the Acting IGP on releasing remand prisoners on bail to reduce congestion in prisons due to corona virus by listing several other categories of prisoners who are eligible for bail.
The AG on 9 April issued guidelines to Acting IGP Chandana Wickremaratne on the release of minor drug offenders . Today (11 April) he said this would be expanded to other categories after he was informed that there are around 5,000 other persons in remand custody who are suspects in cases unrelated to drug offences.
Excluding three categories of prisoners, the AG said that all other inmates who have been in remand custody for over three months and those who are in custody for minor offences where the prescribed sentence is less than two years Rigorous Imprisonment (RI) and have been in custody for a period of over one month are qualified for release on bail.
Those who will not qualify for bail under this program are persons who are facing charges under several laws including the Firearms Ordinance(Possession of Automatic Weapons), Explosives Ordinance. Offensive Weapons Act, Offences Against Public Property Act, Prevention of Money Laundering Act, Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, Prevention of Torture Act, Prevention of Terrorist Financing Act, Immigration and Emigration Act, Assistance to and Protection of Victims of Crime and Witnesses Act and Sections 296, 386 and 383 of the Penal Code.
Others who will not be considered for bail are remand prisoners who are habitual offenders with several pending cases and/ or previous convictions as well as Island Re-convicted Criminals (IRC)s.
The AG advised the Acting IGP to instruct the OICs of Police Station and other Units to file motion and/ or further reports in the Magistrate’s Court and move court to enlarge these suspects on bail without delay.
He also said those released on bail should be closely monitored by the respective police stations in areas they reside.