High Court on Thursday overturned the Criminal Court's verdict to sentence Dhiggaru MP Faris Maumoon to four months and 24 days in jail.
The son of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, Faris was convicted of identity theft over the misuse of ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM)'s flag and logo at opposition gatherings.
At the verdict hearing of Faris' appeal trial at the High Court on Thursday morning, Judge Mohamed Faisal declared that the judges bench unanimously decided to overturn the lower court's ruling.
Elaborating on the reasons for the High Court's decision, Judge Faisal stated that secret witness testimonies against Faris were taken in violation of the Criminal Procedure Code during the lower court trial, since the prosecution had not made any requests to make the testimonies confidential.
The judge also highlighted that the Criminal Court had not scheduled Faris' hearings in advance, while the prosecution has also admitted at the appellate court that Faris' trial had been rushed, thus curtailing the defendant his right of sufficient time to prepare his defence with a lawyer.
Stating that verdicts issued in trials which did not meet the procedural requirements are illegitimate, the High Court announced its decision to overturn Faris' jail sentence.
Faris had been bailed out of jail until the end of his appeal. He is also currently facing bribery and terrorism charges. The trials are underway at the Criminal Court.