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Pandemic not a special reason to grant bail – Court of Appeal

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The prevailing COVID-19 pandemic is not a special reason to grant bail to suspects in custody, the Court of Appeal held in a recent judgement on a suspect arrested for drug trafficking.

The Court of Appeal maintained that the current pandemic situation is common to all prisoners and that it cannot be treated as an exceptional circumstance to grant bail.

The Court made this observation when it took up a revision application by a suspect engaged in importing goods and under whose name a container with a consignment of about 68 kilogrammes of heroin was found.The suspect had sought bail citing an illness and the COVID-19 situation.

Justices Menaka Wijesundera and Neil Iddawala observed that the impact of the Coronavirus is applicable to all those in custody and that the severity of the pandemic situation puts any person with Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) at grave danger.

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