Court throws out JP leader’s case over prosecution’s absence

Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim (L) with his lawyer Hisaan Hussain outside the Criminal Court after his trial ended. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

Jumhoory Party leader Qasim Ibrahim (L) with his lawyer Hisaan Hussain outside the Criminal Court after his trial ended. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU

The Criminal Court threw out the case charging Jumhoory Party’s leader Qasim Ibrahim with attempted bribery late Monday after prosecutors failed to show up.

The state is pressing three charges against the lawmaker of Maamigili constituency for attempted bribery, coercion with regards to official duties and undue influence on voters. The hearing on Monday night was scheduled to reach a decision regarding continuation of the trial.

The court delayed the hearing by an hour and thirty minutes for the prosecution before declaring that the state attorneys refused to attend the hearing without valid reason. Thus, the court announced that its Judges Bench has decided to send the case back to the Prosecutor General’s Office.

However, the PG Office later stated that the Criminal Court made the decision despite the PG Office’s request in writing to postpone the hearing to Tuesday. Whereas the court has stated that the PG Office may submit the case to court again, the office’s spokesperson said that they have not reached a decision regarding resubmission.

Meanwhile, MP Qasim’s lawyer Hisaan Hussain has since declared that a resubmission of the case would be in violation of the Constitution, Criminal Procedure Act and the criminal justice system.

“Under the Criminal Procedure Act that is now in effect, the state is allowed to take back the case in the period between the preliminary hearing and the first trial hearing. After the first hearing, the case cannot be taken back in order to submit it again or for any other reason,” she said as she pronounced Qasim’s case closed as of Monday night.

The lawyer also described the PG Office’s actions as “cowardly” and declared that the institution has betrayed the extent of external influences it is under.

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