High Court rules against keeping Muheeth murder suspect under house arrest

The High Court has overturned a previous Juvenile Court ruling to keep the main suspect in the murder of Abdul Muheeth under house arrest, declaring that the minor should be detained in accordance with the Home Ministry.

The High Court said yesterday that it had been notified by the Prosecutor General (PG’s) Office that the original Juvenile Court decision had not properly considered the present charges against the suspect or his criminal record.

In overruling the Juvenile Court, the High Court said the minor might become a threat to the society if detained under house arrest.

The PG also claimed during the High Court ruling that the Juvenile Court had not properly considered that the suspect, who is a minor, might influence the trial’s witnesses should he be released from police detention.

It was noted yesterday that the Juvenile Court has issued five warrants related to the case, with the most recent requesting that the suspect be put under house arrest.

The four previous warrants issued requested the suspect be kept in a place determined by the Home Ministry over concerns he might influence witnesses should he be released from detention.

The High Court said that when keeping a suspect in detention, the presiding judge in the case is required to refer to several different factors, such as the crime involved and the challenges faced in investigating the offence.

Other factors a judge needed to consider were the number of persons involved in the crime, the nature of the crime, the penalty for the crime, the probability that the accused might flee and the probability of influencing witnesses.

The High Court stated that the suspect had a criminal record with five previous offences.  The court said that these cases included involvement in an unlawful gathering whilst in possession of a violent weapon, a charge of assault using a violent weapon and one case of terrorism. In considering the suspect’s record, the High Court said it could be believed he might be a threat to the society if released from detention.

The PG requested the High Court to keep the minor in pre-trial detention until the court reaches a verdict on the case.  However, the High Court said the police had earlier requested the Juvenile Court grant an extension of detention for 15 days and it could only refer to police requests made at that time.

Muheeth, of G. Veyru, was stabbed to death near the Finance Ministry building on February 19.  Five suspects were arrested in connection with the case.

Police Inspector Abdulla Satheeh has previously told local media that the investigation into Muheeth’s death showed that the victim had not been involved in gang related crimes and this was not being considered a motive for the attack.  Satheeh added that the victim had no police record and was working in a responsible job at the time.