High court overturns acquittal in 2012 murder

High court overturns acquittal in 2012 murder
May 15 20:28 2016

The high court has found a man guilty for the 2012 murder of Ali ‘Tholhi Pele’ Shifan, after overturning a criminal court acquittal.

Mohamed Shaifan was sentenced to death on Thursday.

The appeals court ruled that traces of Shaifan’s DNA found under the victim’s nails and testimony by eye witnesses, some who claimed to have seen Shaifan attack Shifan with a knife, and others who saw Shaifan at the murder scene, was sufficient for a guilty verdict.

The court however upheld the acquittal of two others who were also charged over the murder, ruling that eyewitnesses testimony implicating Mohamed Mishan and Abdulla Thilmeez were not sufficient to prove they attacked Shifan.

Shifan died of blood loss from multiple stab wounds.

He was stabbed at the West Park restaurant in Malé.

The criminal court in 2013 had acquitted all three suspects claiming eyewitnesses testimony was riddled with inconsistencies. Then-prosecutor general, then-vice president and then-police chief had all expressed shock and concern over the criminal court ruling.

The Prosecutor General’s Office had initially pressed charges against three others, but did not appeal their acquittal at the high court.

The guilty verdict against Shaifan was the first instance the high court overturned a murder acquittal.

The appeals court has so far upheld four other murder convictions and acquitted another man sentenced to death for murder.

Last week, high court supported a criminal court decision to sentence Fathimath Hana, 21 years, to death for the murder of lawyer Ahmed Najeeb, despite her being an accomplice.

The court also acquitted last week Fariyash Ahmed, eight years after he was sentenced to death over the murder of a man in 2006.

The Maldives ended a six-decade moratorium on the death penalty last year.

Some 17 people are currently on death row.