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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 January 2008, 15:39 GMT
Sri Lankan remanded for 50 years
By Roland Buerk
BBC News, Colombo

Generic image of prison bars
A claim for compensation for Mr James is now being considered
A man has been released from prison in Sri Lanka after being held on remand for 50 years without conviction.

PP James was 30 years old when he was arrested for stabbing and wounding his father and sent to jail. He is now 80.

He was moved to a psychiatric hospital shortly after entering prison in 1957, and returned to jail in the mid-1980s, where he seems to have been forgotten.

Mr James was released on bail with the court's apologies. His lawyer hopes the case against him will be dismissed.

Mr James is due back in court next month. A claim for compensation is now being considered.

Stroke of luck

It was an extraordinary case for the Magistrates Court at Kurunegala in Sri Lanka - an 80-year-old man appearing for a bail hearing 50 years after he was remanded in custody.

The lawyer who organised his defence in court, Dharmawijaya Seneviratne, says his client did not complain because he was from a village and ignorant of the law.

PP James might have ended his days in prison, but in December he was taken to hospital again for medical treatment.

Prison officers who went to collect him after his recovery checked his documents and realised the error.

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