Court rules judges can offer bail to those held under Sosma

PETALING JAYA: The Court of Appeal has ruled that judges have the discretion to grant bail to persons charged with serious criminal offences even though they were detained using Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) procedures.

Judge Abdul Rahman Sebli said Section 13 (2) of Sosma gives the court discretion over those below the age of 18, women and the sick or infirm.

He said this in his written judgment allowing an application by businessman L Tamil Selven, who was charged with being a member of an organised crime group.

Tamil Selven was charged under Section 130V (1) of the Penal Code, which provides a jail term of up to 20 years upon conviction.

The police adopted Sosma procedures which would have kept him in prison pending the final outcome of his case.

The 50-year-old, who has health problems, was denied bail by the Ipoh Sessions Court where he was charged with the offence early last year.

His bail application was also dismissed by the High Court.

On May 18 last year, a three-member bench, comprising Rahman, Ahmadi Asnawi and Kamardin Hashim, heard the application by Tamil Selven, who suffers from chronic diabetes and had had one of his toes amputated.

A doctor had also certified that Tamil Selven suffered from an acute coronary syndrome as well as a communicable disease.

Rahman said there is a condition in the Sosma provision stating that bail is subject to an application by the public prosecutor that the accused be attached with an electronic device in accordance with the Criminal Procedure Code.

“The reason we granted (the application) notwithstanding the absence of such application by the public prosecutor is, the courts are still vested with the discretion to grant bail to any class of person enumerated in Section 13 (2) of Sosma,” he said in his five-page judgment released yesterday.

Rahman, who is now a Federal Court judge, said the bench had unanimously allowed the application as it was a fit and proper case to grant bail.

He said Tamil Selven had also promised to comply with all conditions set, including to attend court without fail.