Saturday, February 9, 2013

Coconut stealing schoolgirl (13) – arrested and produced in Magistrate’s Court!

I referred to this case in an earlier blog entry as to the schools failures and the prevalent issues today with regard to under-funding of education, and the reliance on parents to support a schools survival. I will touch on the legal aspects here.

The Daily Mirror paper today had the following reference to the issue above linked

The Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Mrs Kamalini de Silva has faulted the Police and the Acting Magistrate in this regard, as they had acted unnecessarily harshly though within the law. The Police spokesman has defended the Police action as in keeping with Section 367 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in defending the Police action in this regard, and that the police had no authority to refer the case to the Mediation Board as it was up to the Magistrate to do so.

The Acting Magistrate has two options if the case is brought to him for review. He has the option of referring the case to the Mediation Board as it is a small crime or taking it up on a future date, granting the child bail on a surety of Rs50,000. He obviously chose the latter, but it would have been more wise to do the former. He however acted in keeping with his mandate, and the representations made by the Police, in regards to the facts of the case.

One faults the high handedness of the Police in NOT using common sense. Something severely lacking in Sri Lanka and most especially amongst public service personnel who join this service precisely because they lack common sense!

When the suspect is brought before a policeman in the police station and the complaint made for the alleged crime, the Police ought to get the two sides to agree to giving the Girl “police bail” (policiya apa denna) where someone will sign a surety promising to bring the girl to the Courts on the required date to be sentenced. Then whilst the case is filed it does not have to require immediate presentation before a magistrate and necessary action taken accordingly.

If police bail was granted by the Police, the issue would not have made the level of news it did and at a future date some kind of recompense could be agreed with the victim in front of a magistrate and the matter closed! It is hoped that following this incident a circular will be issued with regards to small crimes committed by minors

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