Criminal Court suspends live telecast of trials

Criminal Court. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Afrah)

The council of judges at the Criminal Court has made the decision not to allow live telecast of any more trials until it revises its current policy for live telecasts.

The decision by the council of judges reads that while the court had a policy allowing live telecast of trials, the policy did not stipulate any exemptions – which it did not find suitable.

The council also found that its current policy opened room for unfairness because live telecast of trials could be beneficial to one party but damaging to the other.

“The resultant effects include room for public discord and public mistrust over judicial justice,” reads the decision issued by the council.

It also noted that while some defendants may be standing trial for crimes, more suspects may be under investigation for involvement in the same crimes. It said that live telecast of trials could therefore impede ongoing investigations, and negatively affect future trials.

The council pointed out that witnesses were excluded from trial proceedings until they were called to testify, but that the live telecast of trials voided the restriction and opened room for witnesses to align testimonies, possibly obstructing justice.

The council of judges unanimously agreed to suspend live telecast of trials until its current policy is revised and publicized.

The council, however, decided that it will allow ongoing trials which are being telecasted to continue being telecasted live unless the defense or the prosecution objected to it.

The only trial which is being telecasted live is the trial of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom who has been charged with money laundering. The court is expected to deliver its verdict in the case this November.