Parliament yesterday passed the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill to provide for certain new offenses including crimes committed outside the territory of Sri Lanka and intimacyually abusing children at cyber computer cafes.
Starting the debate on the Bill during the second reading, Power and Energy Minister John Senevirathne who was the Justice Minister earlier said that laws and regulations related to the Penal Code should be amended to suit the changing social requirements.
Mr. Senevirathne said there was no provision in the existing Act to take legal action against Sri Lankans committing crimes outside the country`s territory and the new amendment would now provide for it.
The Section 2 of the Act had now been amended so that crimes committed wholly or partly within the country or its territorial waters and air space would be guilty. This also includes the crimes committed on board any ship or air craft registered in Sri Lanka.
?There were no provisions in the previous law to take action against those committing crimes outside the country. We have been inconvenienced as result on such occasions. We had no way to prosecute them after returning to the country,? he said.
He said that legal action could be taken under the new amendment for acts of omission committed within the premises of Sri Lankan missions or the residences of the Heads of such missions, diplomatic agents or any other member of such missions situated outside the country.
The Minister noted that Computer Cyber Cafes were spreading all over the country using the children for the commission of acts constituting intimacyual abuses and the new provision in the Bill would provide for action against such offences.
According to the Bill, a person who provided service of a computer could take necessary steps to ensure that such computer facility was not used for the commission of an act constituting the intimacyual abuse of a child.
The Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Bill was also passed in the House yesterday.
UNP parliamentarian Prof. G.L.Peiris also welcomed the Bill saying the criminal law of the country needed to be amended from time to time because new offences were committed in the changing society.