Court rejects amended indictments on Avant Garde case

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The indictments filed by the Attorney General on the Avant-Garde floating armory case has been rejected by the Colombo High Court Trial-at Bar.

The case was taken up for hearing before Justices Dhammika Ganepola, Adithya Patabandige, and Manjula Thilakaratne, today (20).

Presenting preliminary objections to the case, the Defense Counsel pointed out that the amended indictments filed by the Attorney General were completely contrary to law. The counsel further argued that the request by the Attorney General to reinstate the defendants who have already been released from the case is also contrary to the law.

Accordingly, the trial-at-bar made a ruling to reject the amended indictments.

The bench also decided to hold hearings on 19 other charges against the defendants on the 4th of May.

On January 30, the Attorney General filed 882 indictment charges against 8 defendants including Chairman of the Avant-Garde Maritime Services Company Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi on the Avant-Garde floating armory case.

Previously, the Attorney General’s Department had filed a case over the illegal possession of firearms and ammunition inside the M.V. Avant Garde vessel anchored off the Hikkaduwa coast near the Galle Harbour, without a proper license, with an indictment comprising 7,573 charges against the defendants.

However, on January 17, the five accused in the case were released from the case due to the fact that only 19 out of the 7,573 total charges filed can be carried forward.

Accordingly, the Avant-Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Ltd, Rakna Arakshaka Lanka Ltd, former Rakna Lanka Chairman Major General (Rtd) Palitha Fernando, Major General (Rtd) K.B. Egodawela and former Senior Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defence D.M.S. Damayanthi Jayaratne were released in this manner.