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High Court repeals former Chief Justice's prison sentence

Shahudha Mohamed
27 January 2020, MVT 13:58
Former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/ MIHAARU
Shahudha Mohamed
27 January 2020, MVT 13:58

The High Court, on Monday, repealed former Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed's prison sentence of one year and seven months and six days, setting him free.

Saeed was convicted of obstructing justice after the Criminal Court found him guilty of refusing to comply with Maldives Police Service's order to hand over his mobile phone for investigation, after his arrest under the state of emergency declared by former President Yameen on February 5, 2018.

In addition to Saeed, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and former Judge of Supreme Court Ali Hameed was also sentenced to jail over obstruction of justice for not handing in their phones for investigation.

However, the sentences for the duo were previously retracted by the High Court.

Judge Hussain Mazeed, who presided over Monday's case, stated that the High Court bench unanimously decided to annul the Criminal Court's decision to cancel former Chief Justice's license to practise law following his conviction.

No evidence, breach in criminal procedure code, wrongful nullification of license

According to Judge Mazeed, Abdulla Saeed was convicted for obstruction of justice for refusing to hand over his mobile phone for investigation ަas the court believed his phone had incriminating evidence.

The state, however, did not provide any details about the phone or proof that there was any evidence on the phone, said the judge.

Since the witness testimonies at the lower court only stated that Abdulla Saeed refused to disclose the whereabouts of the phone, Judge Mazeed noted that it was unclear why it was speculated that the phone contained evidence.

Therefore, Judge Mazeed stated that there was no proof of Saeed destroying physical evidence.

The judge further stated that the lower court collected statements from secret witnesses against the Criminal Procedure Code.

The court is also required to verify the trustworthiness of the witnesses, however, Judge Mazeed stated that there were no details available on how the lower court determined this fact.

According to the presiding judge, cancelling Saeed's license to practice law was an unacceptable order. He noted that the Criminal Court's verdict did not state the reason for nullifying his license.

Moreover, Judge Mazeed stated that he believed Abdulla Saeed was not afforded the rights granted to a suspect as per the Constitution. He pointed out that Saeed's verdict was delivered without offering a chance to arrange new lawyers after the initial lawyers recused from the case.

Therefore, the presiding judge concluded, with the unanimous decision of the bench, to nullify the Criminal Court's verdict on Saeed's case.

Judge Ali Sameer and Judge Mohamed Faisal presided over the case in addition to Judge Mazeed.

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