State not ready to file charges against Tissainayagam, asks Court for more time

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 July 2008, 16:55 GMT]
The State Counsel, Parindra Ranasinghe, appearing in Tissainayagam’s wrongful custody case, Friday, admitted that investigations in the case had been complete last week, but that decision is yet to be made if the State is going to file charges against Tissainayagam. The Counsel requested from the Court for a further 47 days to make the decision. Tissainayagam has been held in custody for 126 days as of today.

Journalist Tissainayagam
Journalist Tissainayagam
Tissanayagam's Attorney, Romesh De Silva, said that since the state has not brought any charges against him for 126 days, and also since the state had determined that Tissainayagam was not brought before the magistrate on TID’s volition and in deference to the court order, Tissainayagam’s custody after 90 days was illegal.

The Defense Counsel added that according to the Emergency Regulations a detainee must be produced before a Magistrate before the 90 day period had expired to request for an extension of Detention Order.

As the magistrate held with the State that Tissainayagam had not been produced in court Tissainayagam’s detention was illegal.

When Counsel De Silva in puzzlement asked the State Counsel why further time was required if the investigations were over, Mr. Ranasinghe replied that since Mr. Jasiharan’s investigations were not over they could not release Mr. Tissainayagam.

Justice Amerathunge then inquired if this case was against both detainees or simply Mr. Tissainayagam. Mr. Ranasinghe replied that this case was only for Mr. Tissainayagam.

Mr De Silva told the Court that since the State Counsel has not produced any evidence to keep Mr. Tissainayagam in custody beyond 90 days, and since the Colombo Magistrate had held that he had not been produced in court, his detention was illegal, and the Court should order to release Mr Tissanayagam immediately.

The Colombo chief Magistrate on the 30th of June held that as the State argued that Tissainayagam was not produced before the court by the TID as required in the Emergency Regulations Article 21, he could not make an order for change in the place of custody as required in the Emergency Regulations article 21 (2). The chief magistrate also stated that if he made any order on the case of Jasikaran and Tissainayagam, the TID would accuse him of getting in the way of national security.

In a different case regarding arrest and detention in the Supreme Court heard on the 30th June, the Chief Justice held that Emergency Regulations on arrest and detention should be strictly adhered to without fear or favour of the Police. If they were not adhered to, then they had to inform the Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Palitha Fernando.

Tissainayagam’s counsel has informed the ASG in writing that the Emergency Regulations had not been adhered to in the case of Mr. Tissainayagam as Emergency Regulations clearly stipulate that a) Detainee must be brought before court b) if detained after 90 days must be in the custody of a prison under the prison ordinance. Both of which according to the State and the Chief Magistrate had not occurred in Tissainayagam’s case.

Romesh de Silva, Mr Tissanayagam's Counsel, is still awaiting a reply from the ASG.

The bench put the next date for the case to be heard to August 20th when the State Counsel would reveal his decision to charge or release.

Romesh De Silva and M.A Sumanthiran appeared for Mr. Tissainayagam, and Parindra Ranasinghe appeared for the State.

The bench comprised of Justice Raja Fernando, Justice Amaratunge, and Justice P.A Ratnayake.


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