Record 7,573 charges filed in Avant Garde floating armoury case | Daily News
 Rajapaksa era ‘High Seas Arms Trafficking’:

Record 7,573 charges filed in Avant Garde floating armoury case

A record 7,573 charges comprise the indictment filed by Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC against thirteen accused parties in the politically highly controversial Avant Garde floating armoury case. This is the highest number of charges in a single case in Sri Lanka’s legal history and is in connection with what the AG’s Department has named as the ‘High Seas Arms Trafficking Case’. The case arose in connection with the Avant Garde floating armoury operation that began during the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.

The Attorney General’s Co-ordinating Officer, State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne told news media that indictments with 7573 counts have already been prepared on the offences committed in the ‘High Seas Arms Trafficking Case’.

The Attorney General has requested the Chief Justice to appoint three judges of the High Court to constitute a High Court-at-Bar for the trial of the Avant Garde’s floating armoury case after taking into consideration the nature of the offences and the complex nature of the available evidence.

The Attorney General expects to file indictments against Rakna Lanka Company, Avant-Garde Maritime Services, retired Major General Palitha Fernando,retired Major General Karunaratne Egodawele, retired Air Vice Marshal P.D. Premachandra, Rakna Lanka Chairman Victor Samaraweera, Don Albert Tillekaratne, Avant-Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi, retired Navy Commodore Vishvajith Nandana Diyabalanage, Nilupul de Costa, Ukrainian Gennadiy Gavrylov - the captain of ‘MV Avant Garde, former Additional Defence Secretary Saman Dissanayake and former Senior Additional Defence Secretary Damayanthi Jayaratne.

According to the proposed indictment, the Attorney General alleged that the accused have committed punishable offences under sections 22(1) and 22(3) of the Fire Arms Ordinance and section 113B, 102, 189 and 190 of the Penal Code for illegally operating merchant vessel ship MV Avant Garde carrying a stock of firearms and explosives including 816 unlicensed automatic firearms and 202,935 rounds of ammunition on the seas off Galle.

The Attorney General had earlier directed the acting IGP to arrest Avant-Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadhipathi and seven others and produce them in Court in connection with the magisterial inquiry into the Avant Garde’s floating armoury case at the Galle Magistrate’s Court.

On July 3, the Supreme Court dismissed five Fundamental Rights petitions filed by retired Major General Palitha Fernando, retired Major General Karunaratne Egodawele, Nishshanka Senadhipathi, Retired Navy Commodore Vishvajith Nandana Diyabalanage and Saman Dissanayake. They had sought an Interim Order restraining the CID from arresting them in connection with the magisterial inquiry on the floating armoury.

The Attorney General maintained that there is sufficient evidence to prove that the all accused had committed punishable offences under the Firearms Ordinance and Explosives Ordinance on or around October 6, 2015. The Attorney General further maintained that three accused - Saman Dissanayake, P.D. Premachandra and Nissanka Senadhipathi - could be charged for fabricating false evidence under Section 189 and 190 of the Penal Code.


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