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Chain of custody mishap results in MDMA suspect's acquittal

Mohamed Rehan
28 September 2022, MVT 13:55
Authorities exterminate batch of previously confiscated illicit narcotic substances--
Mohamed Rehan
28 September 2022, MVT 13:55

Criminal Court has ordered acquittal of a drug trafficking suspect over chain of custody credibility issues.

Local authorities arrested an individual after discovering a packet of MDMA pills from their front jeans pocket. The suspect was arrested by Maldives Police after the pills were discovered during a stop and search, they were traveled from Male to Vilimale' when they were held and arrested afterwards.

State prosecution pressed charges in accordance with Maldives Drugs Act, which according to the court was not found sufficiently proven. Criminal Court argued the credibility of the drugs collected as evidence over its chain of custody.

Police Procedure Act confers local law enforcement to keep a thorough track record of the evidence, including the chain of custody. Contents or materials collected as evidence for forensic analysis and other similar testing must be recorded with regards to the transfer of their custody; the details recorded should included the name of the individual whom the items were custodial to and the date the items were assigned.

The case in question, involved instances where custody transfer dates were amended on two separate occasions without the reason for it detailed out. This led to the court questioning about the viability of the chain of custody information, and whether the alleged contents were in fact in the suspect's possession at the time of the arrest.

An earlier High Court judgement set precedent in such situations. According to the appellate court, if the chain of custody's credibility is compromised, or the chain of custody itself is believed to have been broken in relation to their respective case, then the evidence cannot be held admissible against the accused.

State had failed to adduce evidences that supported the chain of custody was not compromised.

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