Richard De Soyza murder case
February 1990 Richard De Soyza
Abducted from his home in Colombo in February 1990. His body was later found washed up on the Koralawella beach in Moratuwa, just South of Colombo. He was a popular young journalist who had been accused of having links with the JVP. His mother identified a kidnapper on a TV broadcast. The suspect Ronnie Gunasinha was a bodyguard of United National Party leader and President of Sri Lanka, Ranasinghe Premadasa. Gunasinha was among those who killed in the explosion that killed the President on 1st of May 1993.
Four men dragged Richard down the stairs - says witness
by Sandasen Marasinghe
CDN / Saturday, 29 January 2005
Four persons who came into the house dragged Richard de Soyza down the stairs and took him away in a vehicle, A. V. Karunaratne, a person who lived with de Soysa told Colombo High Court Judge Rohini Perera when the murder case of the veteran journalist was taken up for hearing yesterday.
Lal Sriyantha Darmasiri Ranchagoda, Bodeniya Gamlath Gedara Devasurendra and Mahawedikkarage Sarathchandra were indicted for abducting de Soyza and committing murder on or around February 18, 1990 at Rajagiriya.
Karunaratne examined by the Senior State Counsel Damith Totawatte, said he was staying with de Soyza and three people in civil attire and three in uniform came on the day in question.
The following day, he gave a statement to Police and later to a Special Presidential Commission. He also gave evidence before the Magistrate Court.
When Karunaratne was cross-examined by President's Counsel Daya Perera, he said a person resembling the first accused came on the day in question.
Witness cross-examined by President's Counsel D. P. Kumarasinghe, said he made a statement to a Special Presidential Commission and there he admitted that the statement given to Welikada Police was true.
Cross-examined by Attorney K. V. Tawarasa, witness said that a person looking like the third accused also came on the day in question.
Further hearing was put off for February 1.
One of the alleged abductors identified
By Susitha R. Fernando
DM / Saturday, July 02, 2005
The friend of assassinated journalist, Richard De Soyza, from whom the alleged killers had forcibly asked for the address of the murdered journalist, identified the photograph of one of the accused, before Colombo High Court yesterday.
The witness Kenneth Arthur Honter of Rajagiriya identified the photograph of the second accused, former Crime OIC attached to Slave Island Police station, B. G.G. Devasurendra as the one who had entered his house in the middle of the night with a gang of armed policemen and had asked for Richard De Soyza’s whereabouts with a gun pointed at his child.
Mr. Honter who was known to the murdered journalist as he was a colleague of his wife, Noeline Honter at Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation was shown a photograph of the second accused by the prosecution Counsel, Damith Thotawaththa.
Looking at the photograph Mr. Honter stated that the person was very much like the person who came on the said night with the armed men and was forced to give the address of De Soyza. Pointing at the accused police officer B.G.G. Devasurendra who was in the accused box, the witness said that he was very much like the person who came on the fatal night. Earlier at the magisterial inquiry also, the witness had identified a photograph of the accused.
On the previous occasion when the witness, Mr. Honter was giving evidence before the Colombo High Court, he had identified the accused as the one who came to his house with a gang of six armed men and asked for the murdered journalist.
During his evidence he had said that he was residing at Malwatta Road Rajagiriya during 1990-1998. On the day before Richard was murdered at around 3 am a gang of policemen and some armed men clad in black and blue had come to his house and had asked for the murdered journalist.
Later they had checked the house and when they didn’t find anyone except his son and the servant, they had asked for Richard’s address. When Mr. Honter had told them that he did not know they had threatened to kill his son pointing a gun at his neck.
However by going through the telephone directory they had got the number of Arjuna Ranawana who worked for the Rupavahini Corporation and calling him they had got the directions to Richard’s place.
Later Mr. Honter also had seen someone whom the others called ‘boss’. And the boss was clad in a white coloured pair of shorts, t-shirt and a cap.
On the next day through Arjuna Ranawana, the witness had come to know that Richard had been abducted and through the newspapers he had come to know that Richard’s slain body was found in Panadura on a suburb beach. Later he had given a statement to the CID and he was shown some photographs of police officers. During his evidence before the Colombo High Court Mr. Honter had identified the second accused as one of the six-armed men who came to his place.
Former Assistant Superintendent of Police, Dharmasiri Ranchagoda, B. G.G. Devasurendra and M. W. Sarathchandra were indicted with abduction with the intention of murder and committing the murder of Richard De Soyza on or around February 18, 1990 at Rajagiriya.
During yesterday’s trial a reserved police constable who had worked at Slave Island Police station during the period Richard De Soyza was murdered gave evidence.
RPC M. A. M. Ananda Gunasiri giving evidence said that former OIC Crimes of Slave Island police station B. G.G. Devasurendra clad in a white short and black coloured jacket and a cap came to the police station late at night on the day before the murder of Richard De Soyza.
The witness said that he was on night duty on February 17, 1990 and after mid-night he came out of the police station as he felt sleepy. While he was waiting outside, two jeeps had entered the premises of the police station and a group of men had got down from one. The RPC said that he recognised someone resembling , the accused B.G.G. Devasurendra who was then OIC Crimes at the slave Island police station. The witness said though he had not worked under the accused he had seen him regularly coming to the police station in the said dress he was wearing on the said night. In his evidence the witness also said that it was the 1989-1990 terror period and usually vehicles belonging to outsiders were not allowed to enter the police station.
The next witness, Sub Inspector H. W. Sumathipala who was attached to the Fort Police station gave evidence before the Colombo High Court. He said that he gave a statement at Richard De Soyza’s murder investigation.
The witness was attached to the Fort police station and while he was on night duty on February 17, 1990, he had met the first accused, ASP, Dharmasiri Ranchagoda who was then OIC Fort police station. SI Sumathipala stated that he was on duty at the entrance to the Police Commissioner’s Department at the Police Headquarters and at 2 am on February 18, 1990 the accused had come in a jeep there and had signed in his (witness) pocket note book (PNB). The book was later taken into custody by the CID and yesterday it was produced before court.
The witness identified the signature. The evidence was completed and further trial was postponed for July 6. [/b]