A Judge's role is to serve the community as it has a pivotal role in administering justice, said Attorney General, President's Counsel Mohan Pieris at the ceremonial sitting of the Supreme Court to welcome the two new Judges, Justice Sathya Hettige, President's Counsel and Justice Priyasath Dep, President's Counsel.
"I must begin by offering each of the newly appointed Judges my congratulations, not only on your elevation but also on your acceptance of an office which is of pivotal social importance, and your willingness to extend much of your time and energy in performing its duties," the Attorney General said.
A Judge will not succeed and will not find satisfaction in his or her duties unless there is a continued realization of the importance of the community service that is rendered. Freedom, peace, order and good governance which are essential qualities of the society depend in the ultimate analysis on the faithful performance of the judicial duty', the AG said.
The Attorney General emphasised that the two new Judges, Justice Sathya Hettige and Justice Piyasath Dep, take their rightful place in the Supreme Court. "We feel elated and justifiably proud of the long and arduous journey that has brought them to the pinnacle of the judicial office. Lord Atkin writing in his autobiography, makes a remarkable statement - 'one must live one's life backwards and forwards'. It is in this context that on an august occasion such as this, it is important to remember the past times of the two Judges," he said.
Justice Sathya Hettige, President's Counsel had the distinction of becoming the President of the Court of Appeal, directly from his onerous position of then senior most Additional Solicitor General.
It is an appointment which perpetuated an established tradition which was observed in the case of another Additional Solicitor General who today occupies a seat in the Supreme Court, he added.
"Justice Hettige's achievement in making it to the Supreme Court reminds us of his long years of public service. Justice Hettige secured his LLB Degree from the Faculty of Law from the University of Colombo and qualified as an Attorney-at-Law in 1976 with First Class Honours.
He joined the Attorney General's department in 1978 and his long years of service in the department saw him evolve into both a prosecutor and a civil counsel for the State. There was not a single court that Justice Hettige did not traverse as a State Counsel, he said.
Justice Sathya Hettige served as Principal Law Officer in the Director of Public Prosecutions, Fiji Islands and was enroled as a Barrister and Solicitor in the Supreme Court of Fiji Islands, on March 19, 1993.
Justice Priyasath Dep had his primary and secondary education at St Joseph College, Colombo, where I had the privilege of knowing him as a contemporary, the AG said.
I remember Justice Dep as an all-rounder who excelled in studies, athletics, rugby and soccer. After a brilliant school career, Justice Dep went on to obtain his Bachelor of Arts in Development Studies at the University of Colombo where he represented the university in rugby and cricket, the Attorney General said.
Justice Dep was one of those few officers who indulged in both divisions of the Law.
As a Civil Counsel, Justice Dep appeared practically in every court ranging from District Court to the Supreme Court.
It is worthy of mention that Justice Dep was the beneficiary of a scholarship, granted by the Dutch Government that enabled him to acquire a Post-Graduate Diploma in International Law at the institute of Social Studies in The Hague.
In 1991 Justice Dep was enroled as a Solicitor in the Supreme Court of England. "I record with pleasure, your constant desire to write -what they would say in Latin -CACOETHES SCRIBENDI-. The itch to write, resulted in a number of articles which elucidated many a principle of law and Justice Dep certainly inherited this skill from his late father Deputy Inspector General of Police Arthur C. Dep, who authored nearly five books and numerous articles despite his busy schedule," the Attorney General added.