By Sandun A Jayasekera
The Cabinet gave the green light on Wednesday to go ahead with a project proposed by Justice and Law Reforms Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva to consider granting of bail through video technology while the accused remains in prison.
Minister De Silva in his memo to the cabinet has told his colleagues that the situation prevalent in the country and the unsafe environment created for prisoners and prison staff while travelling to courts from the prison had prompted to set in motion a new strategy to grant bail to prisoners through a video conference between the court and the prisoner remaining in the prison.
“This would save lives of the prisoner, prison staff and time of the courts if a rival party of the prisoner targets him while in transit to and from prison,” Minister De Silva stressed.
He recalled that several prisoners and prison officers have been killed while in transit or in the prison premises. There are about 15,000 remand prisoners in 23 prisons across the country. About 5,400 of them have to be produced before courts daily. The Ministry of Justice, Human Rights and Legal reforms has design this programme for the court to consider their bail applications while in prison, using video systems. Minister De Silva also said he intended to acquire an isolated island in Batticaloa where leprosy patients have been located to build a new prison for hardcore prisoners and drug convicts.
”The hospital will be equipped with telephone jamming technology to prevent criminals gaining telephone access. The isolated prison in the island will be monitored round the clock from the sea, air and land,” he added.