Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage has made an order holding that the Prevention of Terrorism Act does not suspend the application of the Criminal Procedure Code.
In the order pronounced in open court, Magistrate Liyanage held that all provisions related to an investigation in the Criminal Procedure Code applies to persons arrested and held in Detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Quoting from the book Criminal Procedure Code by Professor G. L Peiris the Magistrate said that all investigations into any offence comes under the Supervision and Control of the Magistrate, unless otherwise specifically provided by any other Act.
Earlier the Attorney General objected to submitting statements of witnesses in the Hizbullah investigation to the Magistrate. Former Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake in an order dated 19th August 2020, ordered the Criminal Investigations Department to submit a comprehensive report on all statements obtained in the process of the investigations into Attorney -at - Law Hejaaz Hizbullah. The CID did not comply with the order.
Thereafter Lawyers for Hizbullah filed a motion seeking adherence to the order after which the Attorney General objected stating that investigations under the PTA are not subject to the supervision of the Magistrate. Lawyers for Hizbullah pointed out that the Criminal Procedure Code applies at all times unless there is contrary provisions in special laws.
They said citing a Landmark Supreme Court Judgment of Justice Mark Fernando in the case of Weerawansa V Attorney General that there is no contrary provision in the Prevention of Terrorism Act with regard to investigations and reporting of facts before the Magistrate. The request for submitting all statements obtained during the investigations in to Hizbullah came after his lawyers pointed out that the Criminal Investigations Department were submitting partial facts to court for media publicity.
In his order the Magistrate quoting a judgment of the Supreme Court also said that the Detention Order by the Minister of Defence is only to investigate an offence and not to punish a person held in custody. The CID were ordered to submit a comprehensive report including all statements obtained in the Court of the investigation into Hejaaz Hizbullah on the 24th of February 2021.
Presidents Counsel Nalinda Indathissa, Hafeel Farisz, Dhanushan Kaneshayogan and Kavindu Indathissa appeared for Hejaaz Hizbullah.