May 21, Colombo: A three-judge bench of the Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar has ordered the acquittal and release of eight suspects, including Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, Chairman of Avant Garde, who were charged with operating a floating armory at sea.
A three-judge bench comprising Justices Aditya Patabendige, Manjula Tilakaratne and Mahen Weeraman passed the judgment unanimously.
The Attorney general had filed 19 charges against eight suspects, including Nissanka Yapa Senadhipathi, Chairman of Avant Garde Maritime Services.
The defendants were accused of operating a floating armory onboard the MV Avant Garde off the coast of Beruwala near the Galle Harbor, illegal possession and transportation of 203,395 live ammunition without a license on board MV Avant Garde and causing a financial loss to the tune of 11.4 billion rupees to the Government by granting approval to the Avant Garde Maritime Services to operate a floating armory in Galle Harbor during the period from 07 August 2012 to 8 January 2015.
The other defendants in the case are former chairman of Rakna Lanka Defense Company Victor Samaraweera, Nandana Diyabalanage, Nilupul Costa, former Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Defense Saman Dissanayake, Alfred Tillekeratne and the captain of the ship, Ukrainian Gennady Grobri Lodge.