PG Bisham voices concern over delays in court proceedings

More than 120 letters of concern have been sent to Department of Judicial Administration (DJA) over delays in court proceedings, stated Prosecutor General (PG) Aishath Bisham.

PG Bisham was summoned to Parliament's Judiciary Committee on Monday, where she was questioned on suspects being held in custody until the end of their trials.

Answering the lawmakers' inquiries, Bisham said after the Police Services conclude their investigations and the Prosecutor General's Office does the necessary work to pursue charges within the mandated period, the proceedings of the case gets delays in the courts. Although the criminal procedures dictate a time period to conclude the case, the procedure is not followed by the courts, said Bisham.

“There are many unfinished cases still pending in court, ranging from drug trafficking, murder, and child abuse cases. We have sent over 120 letters to the relevant courts to try and speed things up”, said Bisham.

Bisham highlighted some of the cases that have been in court for many years, including the case of three year-old Mohamed Ibthihaal, who was brutally murdered by his mother in V. Rakeedhoo. While the case was submitted to court nearly three years ago, the court has not scheduled a hearing for the case for more than a year now, said Bisham.

Bisham said the charges against those who were negligent in handling Ibthihal's case was appealed in High Court during July 2017.

However, while two years has passed since then, the High Court has not scheduled a single hearing of the appeal case, she added.

The state laid charges of negligence against then Acting Commander of Vaavu atoll police station Lisaan Aboobakuru, and two former employees of the Gender Ministry, Mohamed Rasheed and Mohamed Shakeeb, in addition to Aminath Shiyaza, who was employed at the Vaavu atoll branch of the ministry.

Bisham further revealed that the appeal in the case of GDh. Thinadhoo Ziyadha Naeem's death was filed at the High Court last April, and while three months have passed since then, no hearings have been scheduled for the case thus far.

She noted that Maldives Correctional Services does not have the budget to transport suspects being held in custody in Male' while their cases are filed at court houses in the atolls. The courts do not have the resources to conduct hearings via audio and video, said Bisham.