Weerasuriya to go into the case. The lawyer got the Magistrate toexamine what these files are, whether they were of some million dollaraffairs or some petty files important to this person' We still have fileswe have brought from our Ministries pertaining to various personal thingsof ours. Ultimately, after ten days this young man was remanded, justbefore the local government elections campaign, and the Magistrateheld :
A bailable offence can easily be turned into a non-bailable offence bysleight of hand. I have a very good example for you. One of our youthcandidates at the local government elections was remanded; just beforenomination, for eight days on a trumped up charge. Soon after the localbodies were dissolved he had removed some files from the municipalcouncil. He was then remanded on the basis of a “B” report which said,
Ten days later, Sir, I got a young lawyer called

Sri Lanka Law Reports
(2005) 1 Sri L. R.
Section 3 of the Bail Act has to be read in ejusdem generis to the Actsmentioned in that section. The Offences against Public Property Actcannot be considered as an act which has concerns applicable to thesafety of the State. Therefore this act cannot be considered as an Actwhich was intended by the Legislature to exclude from the applicability ofthe Bail Act. Mr. Tyronne Fernando, Member of Parliament in his speechhas specifically referred to a situation under the offences against PublicProperty Act and welcomed the new law (Bail act) because the provisionfor anticipatory bail could be resort to in the future for non bailable offencesunder the offences against Public Property Act. It is clear from the speechesof the Minister of Justice and Mr. Tyronne Fernando, Member of Parliamentmentioned above that the intention of the legislature is not to exclude theapplicability of the Bail Act to the Offences against Public Property Act.
In my view to exclude a written law from the application of the Bail Actas provided under Section 3 of that act that written law should provideexpress provision in respect of the release on bail of persons accused orsuspected of having commited, or convicted of, offences under that writtenlaw. This is similar to the long title of the Bail Act which reads as “An actto provide for release on bail of persons suspected or accused of beingconcerned in committing or having committed an offence.” Chief justiceSarath N Silva in Anuruddha Ratwatte and 4 others vs Attorney General'91observed.
“The Bail Act No. 30 of 1997 was passed by Parliament as stated inthe long title to “provide for release on bail of persons suspected oraccused of being concerned in committing or of having committed anoffence”…. A person is considered as being suspected of havingcommitted an offence” at the stage of investigation and he would beconsidered as an accused after he is brought before a court on thebasis of a specific charge that he committed a particular offence. Hewould remain an accused until the trial is concluded and a verdict ofguilty or not guilty is entered or he is discharged from the proceedings.Thus the provisions of the Bail Act would apply in respect of all stagesof the criminal investigation and the trial.”
The stages in which a person could be released on bail enumerated inthe long title of the Bail Act and the stages provided in section 3 of the BailAct are similar. The Bail Act, the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the
Gunasekera and Others vs Ravi Karunanayake (Sriskandarajah J.)
Emergency Regulation (which was in force) provided for the procedure,forum and the conditions for the release of a person at the time ofinvestigation, at the time of trial and after conviction. Therefore by necessaryimplication the written law mentioned in Section 3 of the Bail Act shouldalso provide for the procedure, forum and the conditions for the releaseof a person at the time of investigation, at the time of trial and after conviction. .
The offences against Public property Act No. 12 of 1982 as amended byAct No. 28 of 1999 under section 8(1) does not provide for the procedureor forum but provides a condition for the release of person at the time ofinvestigation, at the time of trial and after conviction. The condition is inrelation to the serious nature of the offence namely, if the value of thesubject matter in respect of which the offence committed exceedsRs.25,000 then that person should be released on bail only on exceptionalcircumstances. The provisions in this Act clearly show that these provisionsare not self-contained to release a suspect or accused on bail and itcategorically states that in relation to bail Code or Criminal Procedure Actshall apply.
Section 8(1) of the offences against Public property Act as amendedprovides:
“The provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No.15 of1979, in relation to bail shall apply where any person surrenders himselfor is produced on arrest on an allegation that he has committed or hasbeen concerned in committing or is suspected to have committed or tohave been concerned in committing an offence under this Act:
Provided, however, that where a Gazetted officer not below therank of Assistant Superintendent of Police certifies that the value ofthe subject-matter in respect of which the offence was committed,exceeds twenty five thousand rupees such person shall be kept onremand until the conclusion of the trial. It shall be competent for thecourt in exceptional circumstances to release such persons on bailafter recording reasons therefore.”
The Provisions laying conditions to release a suspect or accused onbail embodied in the above section was enacted before the enactment ofBail Act. The Bail Act was enacted to have a clear policy and to lay guidelines to bail. Section 3(2) of the Bail Act provides :
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Sri Lanka Law Reports
(2005) 1 Sh L. R.
3(2) Where there is a reference in any written Law to a provision ofthe Criminal Procedure Code Act, No. 15 of 1979 relating to bail,such reference shall be deem, with effect from the date ofcommencement of this Act, to be a reference to the correspondingprovision of this Act.
Therefore, the release of persons on bail for an offence committed orsuspected to have committed under offences against Public propertyAct in view of the provisions in Section 3 (2) of the Bail Act has to be readwith the Bail Act. The court that releases a person on bail in consideringthe condition laid down in offences against Public Property Act cannotact in isolation of the Bail Act as it provides not only the procedure butalso other restrictions under Section 14 for the release of a person on bail.
The Bail Act is a general Act in relation to Bail which provides for theprocedure, the conditions and the court by which a person could be releasedon bail but offences against Public Property Act is a special Act inrelation to specific offences. Therefore, the condition that suspect or anaccused could be released on-bail~only on exceptional circumstancesshall prevail. This condition in the said Act is not in conflict with theprovisions of the Bail Act. Even though, the guiding principle of the BailAct is that the granting Bail shall be regarded as the rule and the refusal togrant bail as the exception. The specific circumstances of exceptions torefuse bail are given in Section 14 of the Bail Act. Section 15 of the BailAct has also laid down provisions empowering Court to refuse bail aftergiving reasons for the refusal. One of the reasons for which a bail could berefused to a person who is suspected or accused of having committed anoffence under the offences against Public Property Act is the absence ofexceptional circumstances.
Under these circumstances the submission of the Petitioners that theBail Act is not applicable to the offences against Public Property Actcannot be accepted. The petitioners did not pursue any other grounds tochallenge the order of the learned Magistrate in granting anticipatory bail.This court after careful consideration of the Judgment of the Magistratehas decided not to interfere with the order of the Magistrate as there is noillegality in the order. Therefore, this Court dismisses the application of thepetitioners without costs.
MARSOOF J, (P/CA) -1 agree
Application dismissed.