The criminal court has decided to halt the live-telecast of criminal trials.
The decision was made to allow for the revision and publicization of guidelines for televising trials live. Furthermore, the court has decided that they will continue broadcasting ongoing trials that were previously shown live, after speaking to both parties involved and only if they do not object to doing so.
According to the court, the decision to revise the guidelines was made as they deem it illogical to broadcast all trials with no exception. They highlighted that live-broadcasting trials have the potential to provide unfair advantages to one party.
They note that the aforementioned undue advantages may disrupt public order and create doubt over the judicial process within the public.
Likewise, they note the investigation and trial of persons of interest may be negatively influenced due to depending on the nature of the offense.
Additionally, they note that the telecasting regulation clashes with the regulation to ensure witness anonymity. They further note that the judicial process could be impeded by pressure on witnesses to give non-contradictory statements.
The motion to halt the live-telecast of trials was passed with a unanimous vote from all nine judges currently sitting on the criminal court bench with the exception of suspended chief judge Ahmed Hailam who did not attend.
The motion to continue broadcasting previously televised trials was approved with votes from the majority of the bench with only three judges opposing it.
As per this decision, the live telecast of Former President Abdulla Yameen’s money-laundering trial will continue only if Yameen’s legal team or the prosecution do not oppose televising the trial. The ex-president’s trial was the first criminal trial to be televised live in the Maldives, and a hearing is scheduled for the 17th of this month.
Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb’s legal team has requested the live-telecast of his trial on seven corruption charges. The prosecution also agreed with the decision and both parties presented the request to the presiding judge for review. The Anti-Corruption Commission also supported the decision and appealed for the trial to be televised live.