Practice Relating to Rule 100. Fair Trial Guarantees
Section I. Presence of the accused at the trial
Sri Lanka’s Prisons Ordinance (1878), as amended to 2005, states:
Whenever any prisoner is required to appear before any court, to give evidence, or for any other purpose, it shall be lawful for such court in its discretion, if it considers the presence of such prisoner necessary for the ends of justice, by an order in writing to direct the Superintendent of the prison, where such prisoner shall be imprisoned, to produce such prisoner before such court, and such Superintendent shall in the absence of good and sufficient cause to the contrary, cause such prisoner to be produced in compliance with such order.
This article applies to persons deprived of their liberty under Sri Lanka’s Emergency Regulations (2005) pursuant to section 19 of these regulations.
Sri Lanka’s Emergency Regulations (2005), as amended to 2008, states:
62. (1) Notwithstanding any emergency regulation or other written law the [trial], including a trial at bar, for any offence under the emergency regulations, may be held upon indictment by the Attorney-General and thereupon the person charged shall be tried without a preliminary inquiry before the High Court [or] High Court at bar, as the case may [be], without a jury:
(4) The trial of any person before the High Court under this regulation may commence or continue in the absence of such person if the Court is satisfied that he is [evading] arrest or absconding or feigning illness.
Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure (Special Provisions) Act (2007) states:
(11) (a) Where the accused—
(i) is absconding or has left the island; or
(ii) is unable to attend or remain in court by reason of illness and has consented either to the commencement or continuance of the inquiry in his absence, such inquiry may commence or continue without any prejudice to him; or
(iii) by reason of his conduct in court is obstructing or impeding the progress of the inquiry, the Magistrate may, if satisfied of these facts, commence and proceed or continue with the inquiry in the absence of the accused.
(b) An attorney-at-Law may appear for such absent accused.
(c) The inquiry shall proceed as far as is practicable in accordance with the provisions of this Act except that the provisions of section 416 of the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, No. 15 of 1979 [regarding the Court’s power where an accused has absconded to examine and record depositions of prosecution witnesses to be used in a trial upon arrest of the accused] shall not apply to the depositions recorded where there is a trial on indictment in the High Court, whether the accused is present in the High Court or not.