Judge Sarath Ambepitiya murder case : Solicitor General examines
A steward at Steam Boat Restaurant said that he recalled the three
accused in the High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya murder case having
liquor and fried rice at the restaurant on November 19, 2004.
Steward Achala Sandaruwan Wijerama stated this before the
Trial-at-Bar hearing the High Court Judge Sarath Ambepitiya murder case,
when he was examined by Solicitor General C. R. de Silva.
The Trial-at-Bar comprises High Court Judges Upali Abeyratne
(president), W. A. T. Ratnayake and I. M. Abeyratne.
A. S. Wijerama the steward said in evidence that he was an employee
at Steam Boat Restaurant in Kinsey Road, Borella . He said the
restaurant was open from 11 am to 2 pm and again from 6 pm to 11 pm.
He said on November 19, 2004 around 1.30 pm five persons arrived at
the Steam Boat Restaurant. They were the first customers that day and
only two other tables were occupied by customers from 11 am to 2 pm.
They ordered half a bottle of Old Arrack, a bottle of soda and
Coca-Cola. Nobody else took liquor during those hours. He took their
order and supplied the drinks to the customers with five glasses. But
they returned one glass saying one of them was not taking liquor. Then
they ordered two fried-rice portions and a dish of devilled fish. Later
they were given two bills one for liquor and the other for the meals.
They paid with a thousand rupee note.
Witness identified second, third and fifth accused in the current
case as the trio among the five persons who arrived at the restaurant on
the day in question.
He said later the three empty bottles were placed in cases in the
bar. The cases were empty since usually they are cleared by 11 a.m.
After Solicitor General showed witness four bills produced by the
Police before the Court the witness identified that two of them were
written by him to forward to the bar and the kitchen and the other two
were the two bills issued to the customers by the cashier. He also said
that they were issued on November 19, 2004 from the Steam Boat
He also said that he served liquor that day to those five customers
only. He handed over the empty bottles to the Police Officers who
arrived there around 7 p.m. that day and they were the only bottles in
the cases. Officers in civil took them over and I was told they were
from the finger prints section. IP Nuwan Wedasinghe was among them.
Cross examined by Defence Counsel Sudath Karavita witness said that
he did not look at the customers attentively but saw them while he
served liquor and meals.
The Trial-at-bar ordered the Colombo Crime Division to bring all the
originals of the statements with regard to this case when the CCD
informed several originals of statements have not been brought before
the Court following a request by the Defence Counsel Sudath Karavita to
The Attorney General indicted Mohammed Niyas Naufer alias Potta
Naufer, Hewavitaranage Nishantha Udaya Kumara, Sampath Thusara
Abeywickrama, Henry Sujith Rohana Rupasinghe and M. P. Sumedha Niroshana
with five counts including conspiring to murder High Court Judge Sarath
Ambepitiya and his Police bodyguard Chief Inspector R. A. Upali around
November 19, 2004.
Second to fifth accused were indicted for committing the double
murder on November 19, 2004 and Potta Naufer was indicted for aiding and
abetting the second to fifth accused to commit the crime.
Solicitor General C. R. de Silva, Senior State Counsel Sarath
Jayamanne, State Counsel Haripriya Jayasundara, State Counsel Shanil
Kularatne and State Counsel Uthpalangi Rajapakse appeared for the
President's Counsel Tirantha Walaliyadda, Sarath Ekanayake, Ravindra
de Silva, Manjula Welagedara, Akalanka Ukwatta, Ranil Velaratne,
Pushpakumara Amugama and Methsiri Paranavithana instructed by Laxman
Perera appeared for the first accused while Sudath Karavita appeared for
the second and forth accused and Dilshan Fernando, Kelum Kumarasinghe
and Nalin Indatissa appeared for the third and fifth accused.