Criminal Court has ordered the acquittal of a local individual who was apprehended with over one kilogram of illegal drugs from Velana International Airport (VIA).
The suspect, identified as one Ahmed Irufan traveled to the Maldives on August 16, 2016 via Sri Lankan Airlines was apprehended by local authorities while carrying a total of 1,475.8 grams of Diaformin.
According to Maldives Customs Service, the suspect had carried the illicit substances wrapped in rubber packets.
State pressed drug trafficking charges against the suspect.
While state argued the suspect was culpable for the offense, his defense countered claiming the luggage he carried, out of which the substances were discovered, had been handed over to him by another individual.
Irufan's defense claimed he was unaware of the presence of illicit substances inside the luggage.
Criminal Court judge specified that prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the suspect was privy to the presence of illicit substances inside the luggage he carried.
In addition to this, the Criminal Court judgement accentuated issues related to interruption in chain of custody during investigation.
The judgement highlighted the following discrepancies;
- Absence of chain of custody document attached to the evidence bag
- Evidence was handled during chain of custody by an unnamed individual, to which prosecution had answered in the affirmative
- Suspicious elements related to exchange of evidence bags
- Validity of chain of custody due to break in the chain
Due to the break in the chain of custody, the Criminal Court judge who presided the case, Justice Adam Mohamed held that prosecution had failed to prove the suspect's culpability voluntary drug trafficking beyond reasonable doubt.