Opposition MP files four misconduct cases against Judge Abdulla Mohamed

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor has filed four cases of judicial-misconduct against the former Chief Judge of Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed at the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

The MDP in a statement (dhivehi) published on its official website claimed that the four cases filed against the judge had been based upon his misconduct during Hamid’s recent criminal trial.

Last October, Judge Abdulla Mohamed handed Hamid a six-month imprisonment sentence for his failure to comply with court summons in a case in which he faced charges of refusing to cooperate with the police.

However, Hamid’s conviction was quashed on appeal by the High Court, which held that the Criminal Court had not followed the established procedures in attempting to summon the MP to the court.

The High Court, in overturning the case, also reiterated that the Parliamentary Privileges Act at the time of Criminal Court’s issuance of the guilty verdict did not allow an MP to be summoned to court while parliament was in session.

In late November, the Supreme Court annulled several articles of the Privileges Act, including the clause that required all MPs – regardless of criminal conviction – to be present during votes. The Supreme Court’s move had prompted Hamid’s relocation from house arrest to Maafushi jail.

In the misconduct cases filed at the JSC – the state’s judicial watchdog responsible for disciplining judges – the Henveiru-South constituency MP accused Abdulla Mohamed of displaying outright rudeness towards him, stereotyping him as a criminal, publicly defaming him, and attempting to “politically” destroy him.

The MDP’s statement meanwhile added that Hamid intends to file more cases concerning the judges alleged misdemeanors,  including the fact that he had refused to provide a copy of the arrest warrant issued against Hamid.

Ghafoor was quoted in the statement claiming that he had only been able to receive the arrest warrant three day after the expiry of the warrant.

He also accused of the Judge of assisting the police to publicly broadcast his photograph in the media and implying him as a hard-lined criminal on the loose.

Controversies surrounding Judge Abdulla Mohamed

Shortly after the case, the JSC announced the transfer of Judge Abdulla from his position as Chief Judge of Criminal Court to the Chief Judge of the Drug Court as part of the commission’s shuffling of nine superior court judges.

In January 2012 Judge Abdulla was taken into military detention during the final days of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s administration after then-Home Minister Hassan Afeef had accused him of “taking the entire criminal justice system in his fist”.

Nasheed’s administration listed 14 cases of judicial misconduct concerning the judge that included obstruction of police duty – including withholding warrants for up to four days, ordering police to conduct unlawful investigations, disregarding precedents set forth by higher courts, deliberately holding up cases involving then-opposition figures, and barring media from corruption trials.

He was also accused by the Nasheed government of releasing of suspects detained for serious crimes “without a single hearing” and maintaining “suspicious ties” with family members of convicts sentenced for dangerous crimes.

The controversial judge was also thrust into the media limelight after he released a murder suspect “in the name of holding the health minister accountable”. The suspect later went on to kill a witness to the case.

The JSC earlier in November 2011 found Judge Abdulla guilty of violating the Judges Code of Ethics by making a politically biased statement in an interview he gave to private broadcaster DhiTV.

However, the JSC’s attempt to take action against him ended in vain after the Civil Court overruled the decision – later supported by the High Court.

Minivan News was unable to get a confirmation from the JSC regarding Hamid’s case – Secretary General Abu Bakuru was not responding to calls at time of press.