Muhuthaz Verdict (2016/HC-A/55)

 

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Summary of the Appeal

The case was reviewed when the Prosecutor General found the Criminal Court’s order No. 145-J/MD/2016/876 to be in contravention to legal and judicial procedures, and appealed the decision at the High Court.

The appellee of the case is Muhuthaz Muhsin of Raimas Ge, Gaaf Alif Atoll Maamendhoo.

Case Summary

Case number: 2016/HC-A/55

  • Appellant:

Name: Office of the Prosecutor General

Permanent Address: PG office/Male’                   * Current address: PG Office/Male’

  • Appellee:

Name: Muhuthaz Muhsin’

Permanent address: Raimas ge/Gaaf Alif Maamendhoo

ID card number: A072016

Current address: H. Lhoheege/Male

  • Registered date: 08 February 2016                                  *Date of conclusion: 09 February 2016
  • The court order which was appealed:

Number: 145-J/MD/2016/876

Court: Criminal Court

Case type: Court Order

Date of conclusion: 08 February 2016

Council of Judges who reviewed the case:

  • Judge Abdul Rauf Ibrahim             Judge Abdulla Hameed Judge Shujau Usman

 

Points Noted

1. The Prosecutor General’s Office, stated that the Criminal Court’s order No. 145-J/MD/2016/876 was in contravention to legal and judicial procedures, and submitted the case for appeal at the High Court of the Maldives.

2. On examining order No. 145-J/MD/2016/876 of the Criminal Court it was established that when the remand application for Muhuthaz Muhsin of Raimasge Gaafu Alifu Atoll Maamendhoo, who was accused of producing false documents/conspiring to unlawfully arrest a person, was submitted to the Criminal Court in No. TD 08776 of the Maldives Police Service, “Form on producing before a judge, a person suspected of committing a crime, within 24 hours of their detention to present their case”, the court ruled on 08 February 2016 at 15:22 hours for his release on the grounds that a remand was unnecessary. It is also evident that an additional statement issued along with the order stated his release to be conditional and the conditional release agreement was to “provide full cooperation to the Police in the investigation of the case.”

3.  3. In order to appeal the decision of the Criminal Court, order number: 145 – J/MD/2016/876 the following points were presented by the Prosecutor General at the proceedings held at the High Court of the Maldives. Following is the point presented:-

The order was in contravention to Article 143 (d) of the Constitution of the Maldives and that consideration was not given to the principles stipulated in Point Number 9 of Case No. 2010/SC–A/19 of the Supreme Court of the Maldives when the remand application for Muhuthaz Muhsin specifically stated that given the nature of the crime he was suspected to have committed, releasing him could pose a threat to public safety and that he may attempt to influence testimony and tamper with evidence.

4. In light of order number 145-J/MD/2016/876 of the Criminal Court, the point taken by the Prosecutor General in the appeal, the representations made by the appellant and the appellee Muhuthaz Muhsin at the High Court of the Maldives hearing and after evaluating the documents submitted with the case from a judicial and legal point of view, the panel of Judges of the High Court of the Maldives who reviewed the case noted the following:

(a) First Issue: Of the points highlighted in case number 2010/SC-A/19 of the Supreme Court, Point 9 states that when arresting a person in accordance with Article 49 of the Constitution of the Maldives, even in the absence of any convincing evidence, factors such as the severity of a suspected crime, the risk factor, its nature, number of persons involved, penalties prescribed by law, the prospect of the accused absconding, as well as the possibility of evidence being tempered with or destroyed must be taken into consideration by the Judge.

(b) Second Issue: In form number TD087776 of the Maldives Police Service on “Producing before a judge, a person suspected of committing a crime, within 24 hours of their detention to present their case”, to which the appealed Court Order has given reference to, states that Muhuthaz Muhsin was arrested/detained as the prime suspect in the conspiracy to arrest the President of the Maldives and his alleged involvement in producing a false warrant in the name of the Magistrate Court of Maafushi Island for the purpose, and that his detention was imperative given the nature of the crime, its impact on public safety and security as well as the imminence of influence on testimony and tampering of evidence,

Taking note of Article 49 of the Constitution of the Maldives, and Article 7 (a) “Regulation on summoning before a judge a person detained for a crime and to decide on remand” the judge is given the authority to further remand a person under the following circumstances; possibility of hiding evidence or influencing witness testimony, or fail to attend court, absconding or if the judge has reason to believe the person pose a threat to public safety if set free.

Case No. 2012/HC-A/194 and Case No. 2012/HC-A/260 of the High Court of the Maldives have specified that a person who was given remand because the Judge has reason to believe that the suspect’s release could be a potential threat to public security, must be held in a secure place.

(c) Third Issue: Gaafu Alif Maamendhoo/Raimasge Muhuthaz Muhsin was accused of producing a false document, of the crime of conspiring to unlawfully arrest a person, and in this respect the document alleged to have been produced by Muhuthaz Muhsin in collaboration with other persons was in the name of “Male’ Atoll Maafushi Magistrate Court” and that while the warrant, which stated that it was for the arrest of Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom of G. Dhoovehi was supposedly requested by the Maldives Police Service, the fact that the Maldives Police Service has not requested for such a warrant and the Magistrate Court of Maafushi island has not issued such a warrant and the state had presented its case to the High Court of the Maldives that it is an invalid warrant issued without following due process and in contravention to the Criminal Justice procedure of the Maldives, and hence the warrant issued in the name of “Male’ Atoll Maafushi Magistrate Court” submitted with this case is seen to be unlawful an invalid.

(d) Fourth Issue: In light of the evidence presented by the state in relation to this case, Gaaf Alif Maamendhoo/Raimasge Muhuthaz Muhsin who is accused of the crime is believed to have conspired with other persons and secured a warrant in an apparent attempt to arrest the President of Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom and overthrow the Government, he is believed to have boarded a speedboat from Male’ on 7 February 2016 at around 12.45 midnight and travelled to the island of Alif Dhaal Maamigili and in collaboration with the Chief Magistrate of the island Court, the Court premise was opened and a warrant sought to arrest the President of the Maldives Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom.

(e) Fifth Issue: The warrant submitted in relation to this case issued under the name of the “Male’ Atoll Maafushi Magistrate Court” was for the arrest of G. Dhoovehi, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom the current President of the Maldives. The President of Maldives is the head of the State and Government and the head of the National Defence Force. The Constitution and the Laws of the Maldives have consigned important duties to the President. In this respect the responsibility on making decisions related to the independence, security, protection, sovereignty, integrity of the Maldivian state is assigned to the President. By producing an unlawful warrant contrary to the Laws and depicting it as a valid document in a manner that could obstruct the President from carrying out the duties assigned to him by the Constitution and the Laws, poses a possible threat to the independence, sovereignty, integrity of the state of Maldives and is believed to be a threat to social harmony and public security and cause a possible disruption to the function of the state.

(f) Sixth Issue: Taking into consideration the nature and type of the crime for which the appellee Gaaf Alif Maamendhoo/Raimasge Muhuthaz Muhsin is accused of, and the sequence of events, magnitude of the issue and the evidence submitted by the state implicating Muhuthaz Muhsin, setting him free is believed to be a threat to social harmony and public safety and there remains the possibility of him influencing witnesses and destroying evidence,

The Judges of the High Court who reviewed this case is of the opinion that the Criminal Court order number 145-J/MD/2016/876 issued for the release of Gaaf Alif Maamendhoo/Raimasge Muhuthaz Muhsin had failed to take into consideration point number 9 of the points stated in the Supreme Court ruling number 2010/SC-A/19 and hence the Criminal Court order has been declared invalid and orders for the detention of Muhuthaz Muhsin at a place decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • Ruling

In light of the prevailing matters, Order Number: 145-J/MD/2016/876 is hereby declared void, and from henceforth on 09 February 2016, 19:26 hours, Muhuthaz Muhusin of Raimasge of Gaaf Alif Atoll Maamendhoo is to be detained for a period of 15 days at a place decided by the Ministry of Home Affairs, as ordered by the unanimous decision of the Judges of the High Court of the Maldives who presided over this case.