President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday, November 24, ratified the fourth amendment bill to the Criminal Procedure Act (Law No: 12/2016).
The parliament passed the bill at the 33rd sitting of its third session held this year on November 7.
The bill revises previous restrictions on acquittal over lack of evidence, providing law enforcement with the power to retry cases within a period of eight years based on new evidence that is presented. The amendment also removes the timeframe for trial proceedings on homicide cases.
Prior to the amendment, the Criminal Procedure Act required the Prosecutor General's Office to file for trial within three months of making an arrest, regardless of any increments to their court-ordered remands or bail. If the state prosecutors failed to bring the case to trial within three months, the case lost its discretionary litigation rights.
With the new amendment, the time frame for presenting new evidence and retrying cases have been extended for a period of eight years, and murder trials or serious indictable offences have no time limit and can be tried even if the new evidence is presented after the eight-year window.
This broadens the discretion granted to state prosecutors in filing charges against suspects acquitted of serious indictable offences, despite the passage of significant time.
The amendment also gives law enforcement the authority to seek remand of suspects if their cases are filed for a retrial in light of new evidence.