Adhuham Mohamed, charged with the murder of taxi driver Qasim Hassan, retracted his confession in Criminal Court on Tuesday, claiming that his former confession was delivered while he was under the influence of drugs.
Adhuham, who also confessed to the crime during the police investigation, requested forgiveness from Qasim's family when he formerly admitted to murdering the taxi driver in court, stating that he was in a state of inebriation at the time of the incident and that he experienced remorse afterwards.
Tuesday's hearing was held to deliver Adhuham's sentence following his confession. However, the defendant pleaded not guilty when Judge Ismail Rasheed questioned him on his confession. He rejected the charges claiming that he did not murder the taxi driver.
Furthermore, Adhuham accused Maldives Police Service of drugging him prior to court hearings, adding that he was unaware of the statements he had made in court while he was intoxicated.
The alleged killer stated that he received certain privileges while he was under Police custody. Adhuham stated that he came to his senses after he was recently transferred to the care of Maldives Correctional Service (MCS).
"I am now declaring in a sober state that it [the murder] is not a crime I committed", he asserted.
The 59-year-old taxi driver was fatally stabbed in the reclaimed suburb of Hulhumale' on December 4, 2019. He was pronounced dead at 21:50 hrs in Hulhumale' Hospital.
The state-appointed lawyer for the defendant stated that he became aware of Adhuham rejecting the charges on Tuesday itself. The lawyer stated that he met Adhuham once while he was under police custody but did not meet him after he was shifted to prison.
Adhuham's lawyer believes that his accusations must be investigated although he did not voice any such allegations prior to the hearing. Therefore, he requested the court to grant a period of time to look into the matter further.
When presented with the chance to reopen the investigation in light of Adhuham retracting his confession, the state wished to proceed with the trial, requesting the bench to refer to the evidence already submitted by the state.
The judge announced that the court will schedule the case's preliminary hearing next.
The Prosecutor General's Office charged Adhuham with the murder under the Act Prohibiting Intimidation and Possession of Dangerous Weapons and Sharp Objects on February 9.
As per the act, capital punishment will be imposed on the perpetrator if the family of the murder victim decides on the penalty. If they opt against capital punishment, the defendant will receive a life sentence.
However, even if Gasim's family decided on capital punishment, Adhuham's plea bargain stipulates that he would be imprisoned for a period between six months and 17 years instead of a life sentence.