The photos which leaked over social media showing a group of young men at the witness stand and the judge’s bench were taken inside an unused courtroom at the Juvenile Court, says Department of Judicial Administration (DJA).
The photos which went viral on social media created public concern and further fueled allegations of existence of gang influence over Maldivian courts.
Speaking in answer to a question posed by ‘Sun’ during the DJA’s press conference this Wednesday, Chancellor of Judicial Academy, Ahmed Majidh said the courtroom seen in the photos has not been in use for trials for some time.
Majidh said the courts confiscate mobile phones of defendants and witnesses only when they enter courtrooms for trial. He said the photos were taken while the group of individuals were waiting for a hearing to begin.
“It was taken while they were kept in waiting ahead of witness testimony with their phones. The pictures were taken inside that courtroom [where they were waiting],” said Majidh.
Majidh said the Juvenile Court had imposed a ban on use of mobile phones by defendants and witnesses inside the court after the incident.
Legal Officer at DJA, Faisal Adam said the courtroom from where the photos were taken is used as a waiting room to protect the identities of juvenile witnesses and defendants who attend the court.
“More than a courtroom, it is one of the rooms used to protect the identities of the juveniles brought in for trial,” said Faisal.
The DJA said the incident is under further investigation by the authority.