Committee to make recommendations: Amendments to SL Criminal Law on the cards | Sunday Observer

Committee to make recommendations: Amendments to SL Criminal Law on the cards

A committee comprising officials from several government agencies are currently in discussions to make timely and needed recommendations to amend the Criminal Law in Sri Lanka. The committee will also look at making recommendations to amend the Prevention of Crimes Ordinance which has remained unchanged for the past 90 years.

Recommendations by the committee will look at ensuring better surveillance of criminals through fingerprinting and record maintenance, curbing delays in the criminal justice system as well as prevention of disturbances to court proceedings by individuals not party to the cases as seen in the recent past.

Due to various attacks on high profile suspects in the process of being presented to courts the government is said to be now looking towards making several amendments to the criminal law through the recommendations committee including amending provisions with regards to presentation of suspects to courts periodically for remand purposes.

According to DIG Ajith Rohana officials are having to present suspects to courts every 14 days for further remand purposes only which has given rise to various issues in the recent past. “The committee is therefore looking at these issues carefully to make necessary changes in the light of recent incidents in Kalutara and Mount Lavinia” he said.

Also under recommendations made by the said committee the new concept of ‘recorder judges’ has been recommended to be introduced to Sri Lanka In a bid to curb delays in the criminal justice system.

According to former Police media Spokesperson and member of the committee making recommendations to amend the current criminal law DIG Ajith Rohana the committee is in discussion to make necessary recommendations to introduce such a role in order to reduce the workload of current judges. Recorder judges in other countries enjoy similar jurisdiction of circuit judges but handle less complex issues coming before the court.

“Judges spend early hours of the day spent on calling dates and are not able to get in to inquiries till much later” he said adding that this will change with the new introduction with recorder judges handling calling dates going forward leaving other judges to look in to inquiries.

Meanwhile, the committee has also made several proposals in order to make amendments related to crimes which require offenders to be fingerprinted. “Today rape is not an offense that we obtain the fingerprint of an offender of” Rohana said adding changes needed to the existing law therefore have been recognized.

“As a result we are recommending the list of finger printable crimes be updated for better surveillance and maintenance records of repeat offenders” he said.

According to DIG Ajith Rohana the committee has been meeting once in two weeks. “There is no set time frame but we hope to make the necessary recommendations and submit our report in the near future” he said adding that public opinion will also be sought prior to any changes being made.