The suspect accused of murdering Haris Abdul Gafoor near a halfway-house in Hulhumale' in September 2017 has been acquitted by the Criminal Court.
Yameen Rasheed from Fuvahmulah was charged with murdering Haris with a sharp object.
In the ruling made by Criminal Court on December 29, they said there were no witnesses that had seen Yameen attacking Haris. It also said although the prosecution has requested to take into account the statements of the secret witnesses that had chosen not to give their statements in court, there is no legal basis for the court to take into account the statements of witnesses without sharing them with the accused. The judgment noted that the higher courts had held that this could not be implemented.
According to the judgment, in other countries, the court takes into account the statements of witnesses who cannot be produced in court under certain circumstances as defined in the law. However, while there is no such law in the Maldives, it is a constitutional right to question witnesses, the judgment noted.
The prosecution stated that Haris' DNA was found in the jeans allegedly carried by the accused. The prosecution also claimed that Yameen's DNA was recovered from a slipper found at the site of the attack.
However, the defence argued that since Haris had attacked Yameen with a sharp object prior to the incidence, there was a possibility of Haris' DNA being present at the aforementioned instances. The defence also contended that the samples were collected for DNA testing illegally.
Therefore, the ruling stated, the prosecution was not able to provide adequate evidence to the questions raised by the defence regarding the DNA report. The court ruled that the charges were not proved as there were no witnesses to the crime.
The court gave the prosecution several opportunities to summon secret witnesses to which they were noncompliant.
According to the police, Haris was killed in retaliation to an earlier violent attack.