Judge Ali Rasheed has been appointed Acting Chief Judge of Criminal Court following the suspension of Chief Judge Ahmed Hailam.
Hailam was placed under suspension by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) this Tuesday following an ethical misconduct allegation filed against him.
Sun has been informed Criminal Court has made the decision to appoint Ali Rasheed to take over Hailam’s responsibilities for the duration of his suspension.
Ali Rasheed was transferred to the Criminal Court in February 2019, prior to which he served at the Drug Court.
Hailam’s suspension had come mere hours ahead of the sentencing hearing in former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s money laundering trial – which he presides over.
The sentencing hearing has been cancelled by the Criminal Court following Hailam’s suspension.
Article 152 or Criminal Procedure Code allows a judge from the same court to take over trials in the event a presiding judge is rendered incapable of presiding over said trial. It also allows for a fresh trial with a new judge.
The Criminal Court’s decision regarding Yameen’s trial remains unclear at this point.
Hailam is under inquiry by JSC following a photo which he shared over the messaging app, Viber, to a group created for the staff of the Criminal Court on occasion of Victory Day, November 3, which depicted President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed, as well as a number of other politicians, in shackles.
Hailam released a statement on Monday evening in which he apologized for sharing the picture. He said that he hadn’t been aware that the President and Speaker had also been depicted on the picture, and had shared it because it had the picture of Abdulla Luthfee – the mastermind behind the coup attempt of November 3, 1988.