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More lawyers walk out of trial

Judge Hassan Najeeb refused to slow down the pace of the trial or give the defence more time to prepare, prompting lawyers to walk out of the trial.



Defence lawyers walked out of a hearing Wednesday night after the presiding judge refused to slow down the pace of the trial.

Hisaan Hussain was one of the lawyers to leave the hearing for an obstruction of justice charge against Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed, Justice Ali Hameed and former president Maumoon Gayoom.

Her walkout follows Gayoom’s lawyer, Maumoon Hameed, boycotting proceedings earlier this week.

The prosecution allege the three men refused to hand over their phone to the police, a charge they deny. The walkout means that none of them currently have legal representation.

The trio face multiple charges – they deny all of them – and their hearings are scheduled at night, back-to-back and sometimes daily. Hearings have also been cancelled or the defendants have been made to wait hours for them to begin.

Judge Hassan Najeeb refused to slow down the pace of the trial or give the defence more time to prepare.

The court heard from secret witnesses, who gave evidence against the three men, with Saeed and Hameed having to cross-examine them.

One of the anonymous witnesses had previously testified against Saeed and Hameed in a separate trial on a different charge. Saeed and Hameed objected to the testimony, saying it had already been used to convict them for another crime.

Najeeb allowed the testimony.

Another claimed to have acted as an intermediary between Gayoom and Hameed, saying documents had been exchanged and that the pair had spoken to each other on numerous occasions.

The third anonymous witness brought forward by the state said judges were allowed to use their phones everywhere on the Supreme Court premises.

The judge ignored the pleas of the defendants to be granted time to find new lawyers.

The trial continues.