Arrested in August 1958 for attacking his father, he was sent to jail, than moved to mental hospital for treatment and finally went back to jail in mid-80′s, until the court had finally forgotten his case.
James, who was never put on trial, was a victim of prison bureaucracy in Sri Lanka explained his lawyer.
“James went to jail when he was 30. He has been robbed of his youth and is now a grey-haired man of 80 with failing eyesight,” Dharmavijaya Seneviratne said.
The authorities went trough his release after they noticed him last month when he became ill and needed to be hospitalized. They came across his paperwork while processing his return from a hospital in Colombo.
The lawyer said James, originally from the small village of Ibbagamuwa, about 100 kilometers (63 miles) from Colombo, did not complain about his long-running detention because he was ignorant of the law.
A court official announced that James was released last week on bail and apologized for the “rare, pathetic incident.”
“We are preparing the papers to file a case seeking compensation for $14,000 dollars ( about 280 dollars for each year spent behind bars ) and use the money to pay for his medical and other welfare bills,” Seneviratne said with hopes that the case against his client will be dismissed.