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High Court under scrutiny for non-compliance with Supreme Court order

High Court has failed to comply with an order of the Supreme Court regarding the remand of Sammah accused over the murder of Moosa Ahmed Manik in 2017. An official of PG Office has stated that they are considering lodging this case at the JSC.

Aishath Shuba Solih
18 May 2024, MVT 16:03
The bench of Judges at the High Court.
Aishath Shuba Solih
18 May 2024, MVT 16:03

High Court has failed to comply with a Supreme Court directive for a retrial on the remand of an accused on the stating that defendant's release from custody was unjust.

Moosa Ahmed Manik, who was originally from Vaavu atoll Keyodhoo located in central Maldives, was attacked with a sharp object in Malé, the capital of the country. The state charged a man named Ibrahim Sammah Ahmed Fathuhee from Alif Dhaalu atoll Maamigili located up north of Maldives.

Supreme Court issued an order regarding the remand of Sammah.

Sammah was initially acquitted in the case by the Criminal Court, which was appealed by the state in the High Court. The prosecution also requested Sammah to be held in remand pending the outcome of the trial, but the High Court ruled against it.

The remand request was then escalated to the Supreme Court, which reviewed the case and overruled the High Court's verdict. In the hearing held on May 9, the court stated that the High Court failed to consider the prosecution's statement about having enough evidence to suspect Sammah in the case. It was also noted that the High Court's decision violated criminal procedure regulations pertaining to trials, rendering it invalid.

As such, a bench of three Supreme Court judges ruled that the High Court is required to review Sammah's remand within seven days, and that Sammah is to be held in a remand then.

The duration for the retrial expired on Thursday, and Sammah was released from custody due to the High Court's failure to proceed with the retrial to determine his remand within the given timeframe.

An official from the Prosecutor General's office shared with Mihaaru News that the High Court was notified of the Supreme Court ruling through phone calls and letters, but no response was received from the court.

"Therefore, it cannot be believed that this happened without the knowledge of the High Court," said the official.

He stated that the Prosecutor General's office had sent a letter to the Supreme Court regarding the High Court's failure to comply with the Supreme Court's order. He added that discussions were underway about the actions to be taken on the matter. The official also revealed that they are considering filing the case with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

High Court has not yet commented on the matter.

The High Court's bench of judges in the case consisted of Justice Fathimath Faruheeza, Justice Mohamed Faisal, and Justice Abdul Maaniu Hussain. The case was presided over by Justice Fathimath Faruheeza. Mihaaru News reported that all three judges are currently believed to be on leave. However, both Justice Maaniu and Justice Faruheeza attended two hearings held at the High Court last Thursday.

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