Child abuse case ordered for retrial by High Court

High Court of Maldives; The Court has ordered a review of a child abuse case dismissed by a Magistrate Court in 2016. (Sun Photo)

A case of child abuse rejected by the Magistrate Court of H.Dh Makunudhoo has been ordered for a retrial by the High Court.

The Magistrate Court had rejected the case in 2013 due to issues in the charges brought forward by the prosecution. The case reportedly involved repeated abuse directed towards the child and the accused was charged under Section (3) (A) and (C) of the Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sex Abuse Offenders.

The Magistrate Court had stated that the charges were not contrary to the crime specified in the Act. The prosecution had charged the accused with "sexual acts towards a child", however, the Act specified the crime as "sexual acts with an underaged child".

The case was dismissed by the Makunudhoo Magistrate Court on September 27, 2016, however, on appeal, the High Court overturned the Magistrate Court's decision in the matter citing that it was within the Prosecutor General's power to name specific crimes due to no law existing regarding naming a specific crime among other factors.

The High Court also stated that the Act had implied any physical action towards a child with a sexual intention be deemed as a crime and that the defendant had not made any inquisitions regarding a misunderstanding of the charges in court.

The High Court also stated that the Magistrate Court had failed to take into account the opinion of the defendant in the matter regarding the name of the charged crime.