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Amendments allow HC to grant bail for drug quantities under 10g – CA

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In its recent judgment, the Court of Appeal has held that in accordance with the new amendments introduced to the Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, the High Court has the power to grant bail to a person, when the pure quantity of the dangerous drug is less than 10 grams.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-bench comprising Justices Sampath Abayakoon and P. Kumararatnam held that sections 84 and 85 of the Dangerous Drug Ordinance as amended by the amendment act in 2022 are sections that apply to granting of bail by the High Court when the pure quantity of the dangerous drug is less than 10 grams.

“When the pure quantity of the dangerous drug alleged to have been possessed or trafficked by a person is less than 10 grams, the relevant High Court has no option but to release such a person on bail after 12 months in custody, unless the Attorney General has acted and had obtained an order in terms of section 85 of the Ordinance as amended by the Amendment Act No. 41 of 2022,” Justice Abayakoon observed.

In this case, an accused had filed a revision application on the basis that in terms of section 83 of the Poisons, Opium and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance as amended by Act No. 41 of 2022, the accused is entitled to be released on bail as the pure quantity of the drug alleged to have been in possession and trafficked amounts to less than 10 grams, namely 9.426 grams, and the maximum period a person can be kept under remand custody for having possessed such a quantity shall be 12 months in terms of section 84, which can only be extended up to a total period of 24 months in terms of section 85.

The Attorney General at the High Court had objected to the application for bail on the basis that since in terms of the Amendment Act No. 41 of 2022, a person who had in his possession more than 5 grams of Heroin can be sentenced to death, the High Court has no jurisdiction to grant bail.

However, taking into consideration the legal provisions following the new amendments, the Court of Appeal decided to set aside the High Court order and granted bail to the accused. The Court granted bail on the accused as the alleged pure quantity of the dangerous drug possessed and trafficked by the accused in the case under consideration was 9.426 grams of Heroin, and he had been in remand custody from the date of his arrest on October 16, 2019, and he has not been tried, convicted and sentenced.

(Dailymirror.lk)

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Cabinet decision to suspend ‘Parate Executions’

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All Parate Executions have been suspended until Dec. 15, as per a Cabinet decision made today (26 Feb.).

The relevant proposal was furnished by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, in his capacity as the Minister of Finance, following a request made by Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, and Minister of Industries Ramesh Pathirana.

Accordingly, the relevant amendments are due to be presented before the Parliament soon.

State Minister of Finance Ranjith Siyambalapitiya had informed Parliament last week that steps will be taken to suspend the powers of the ‘Parate execution’ law for a certain period for the purpose of protecting the small and medium-scale entrepreneurs (SMEs).

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Parate execution law to be suspended: Siyambalapitiya

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Deshabandu Tennakoon appointed as IGP

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Deshabandu Tennakoon has been appointed as 36th Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka.

President’s Secretary, Saman Ekanayake had handed over his appointment letter earlier today afternoon (Feb. 26).

Since Nov. 29, 2023, Tennakoon served as the Acting IGP. Deshabandu Tennakoon joined the police service in 1998 as an Assistant Superintendent of Police.

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Palestinian PM resigns

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Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh has announced the resignation of his government, which rules parts of the occupied West Bank, due to the escalating violence in the occupied territory and the war on Gaza.

“The decision to resign came in light of the unprecedented escalation in the West Bank and Jerusalem and the war, genocide and starvation in the Gaza Strip,” said Shtayyeh, who submitted his resignation to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas on Monday.

“I see that the next stage and its challenges require new governmental and political arrangements that take into account the new reality in Gaza and the need for a Palestinian-Palestinian consensus based on Palestinian unity and the extension of unity of authority over the land of Palestine,” he said.

Shtayyeh’s comments come as US pressure grows on Abbas to shake up the PA and begin work on a political structure that can govern a Palestinian state following the war.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has on numerous occasions rejected calls for the PA under Abbas to take control of a Palestinian state and govern Gaza.

Last week, Israeli lawmakers backed Netanyahu’s rejection of any “unilateral” recognition of a Palestinian state.

“The Knesset came together in an overwhelming majority against the attempt to impose on us the establishment of a Palestinian state, which would not only fail to bring peace but would endanger the state of Israel,” said Netanyahu.

(Aljazeera)

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