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Jian's death: High Court drops appeal against W Construction MD

Fathmath Shaahunaz
30 September 2020, MVT 18:42
A building under construction contracted to W Construction. PHOTO: AHMED NISHAATH/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
30 September 2020, MVT 18:42

The High Court on Wednesday dismissed the appeal case against Adam Shafeeq, the managing director of W Construction, who was acquitted of charges of negligent homicide over the death of Rawshan Jian.

The young Bangladeshi girl was struck by a cement bag that fell from the fifth storey of the Nalahiya Manzil construction site, managed by W Construction, in capital Male' on December 16, 2018. She succumbed to her injuries the next day while being treated in the intensive care unit at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

The Criminal Court charged six people in relation to her death, including MD Shafeeq, Senior Site Supervisor Hassan Moosa, and four Indian nationals.

Although the court found the remaining five guilty of their charges, Shafeeq was acquitted as the court decided he did not bear criminal responsibility as the managing director.

The state appealed the lower court's verdict at the High Court in January. However, the appellate court decided to dismiss the case during Wednesday's hearing, after the defendant raised a procedural issue stating that the appeal was built on a point which was not noted by the Criminal Court.

Judge Shuaib Hussain Zakariyya, who presided over the case, noted that the prosecution's appeal was based solely on Section 70 of the Penal Code, which details the 'Liability of Corporation or Unincorporated Association'. However, the Criminal Court had not made note of Section 70 or referred to it in any capacity in the charges against Shafeeq, which the prosecution also conceded.

Stating that appeal cases could only be built upon the evidences and defences submitted during the lower court trial, Judge Shuaib thus declared that the High Court could not pursue the appeal as it would otherwise infringe upon Shafeeq's appellate rights.

Shuaib and judges Abdulla Hameed and Abdul Raoof Ibrahim on the High Court bench unanimously ruled to dismiss the appeal case.

In addition to Shafeeq, Site Supervisor Moosa Hassan was also charged with negligent homicide, over failing to take the necessary steps in hoisting cement bags with a lifting sling. While Shafeeq was acquitted, the Criminal Court had ordered a MVR 115,000 fine on Moosa Hassan.

Indian national Rajjav Ali, who operated the winch, was found guilty of reckless homicide. The PG Office stated that he had deliberately operated the winch despite not being tasked with doing so. He received a six-year jail term.

In addition, Muthumani Ramchandran was sentenced to three years, two months and 12 days of imprisonment, found guilty as an accomplice to Rajjav Ali's reckless homicide.

The two remaining expatriate workers were found guilty of failing to warn of the imminent danger. However, the Criminal Court, upon request by the defendants' lawyer Hussain Shameem, converted the jail term into an MVR 7,200 fine.

Rawshan Jian was the elder of two daughters born to a family of Bangladeshi doctors working in Maldives.

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