Crime & Court

Magistrate Denies Bail For Man Charged For Malicious Act

His lawyers, Asilika Rogers and Jagath Karunaratne, argued for their client to be released on bail on the grounds that he is a first offender and that he is responsible for the wellbeing of his child and elderly parents.
25 Mar 2020 14:10
Magistrate Denies Bail For Man Charged For Malicious Act
Bani Dunn. Photo: Police Media Cell

Suva Magistrate Liyanage Wickramasekara has denied bail for a man charged with malicious act describing him as a “monkey with a blade”.

Bani Dunn is alleged to have published and broadcasted false news on Facebook about positive cases of COVID-19 at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital.

His lawyers, Asilika Rogers and Jagath Karunaratne, argued for their client to be released on bail on the grounds that he is a first offender and that he is responsible for the wellbeing of his child and elderly parents.

Ms Rogers stated that not releasing her client on bail would put a strain on the accused’s family, and it would be difficult for defence lawyers to reach their client at the Suva Remand Centre.

Mr Karunaratne said the accused’s constitutional right had been breached because he was held in custody for more than 48 hours.

Police prosecutor Sergeant Luke Qerewaqa submitted that the case was of national interest during the current COVID-19 crisis because the offence committed posed fear and alarm to members of the public.

He stated that if bailed, the accused would interfere with prosecution witnesses.

In his ruling, Magistrate Wickramasekara said the charge was serious given the COVID-19 pandemic and the allegation of spreading false information in this crisis should not be taken lightly.

The 41-year-old’s bail application was denied and he remains in custody. His next appearance is on April 7.

Edited by Ranoba Baoa

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