The High Court has today reversed a Criminal Court decision to throw out the case against the 89 Thinadhoo arson suspects.
Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed had dismissed the charges, claiming the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office was refusing to cooperate with the trial after state prosecutors’ failed to turn up to a trial scheduled for 10am on Saturday, November 22.
A lawyer representing some of the defendants confirmed that High Court had said Judge Abdulla had not given reasonable notice of the hearing to the PG’s Office.
PG Muhthaz Mushin had requested the High Court to rule the dismissal of the case through a letter as unlawful and to order that the terrorism trials continue.
The 89 defendants faced terrorism charges for allegedly setting fire to the island’s police station, court building, and several police vehicles during nationwide unrest on February 8, 2012 in the wake of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s controversial resignation the previous day.
State prosecutors had claimed that the Criminal Court had attempted to handover summons to court outside work hours on Thursday, November 20.
State prosecutor Shaudha Shameem has argued that the Criminal Court could only throw out charges in a courtroom in the presence of the plaintiff and defendant, and claimed Judge Abdulla had failed to follow due procedures in dismissing the case.
The defence lawyer who spoke with Minivan News noted that representatives of the lower court had not been present at today’s hearing. The Criminal Court will now go on recess from December 1 – 15.
Other lawyers representing the defence had previously defended Judge Abdulla’s decision, saying that it was within his powers to dismiss charges if the plaintiff fails to abide by the judge’s orders.
“Abdulla Mohamed has decided the case is invalid. When the prosecutor general submits the same cases to his desk again saying he has the power and authority of the state, that is an affront to the rule of law and courts,” Nasheed told reporters last week.
Previously, the judge ordered 55 of the 89 defendants be held in detention pending the outcome of the trials, claiming the accused were intimidating witnesses.
Around 80 people from Addu City are also currently facing terrorism charges in relation to unrest in the southernmost atoll on February 8.
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