High Court orders Lamha’s rearrest

Haleemath Lamha Abdul Rahman attends a hearing at the Criminal Court on February 21, 2022.

High Court, on Wednesday, overturned the decision by Criminal Court to grant a three-month release from custody to Haleemath Lamha Abdul Rahman – on trial for the murder of Filipino nurse Mary Grace Oned Pineda.

Criminal Court ordered Lamha’s release for a period of 180 days (three months) on November 23rd as the court proceedings in the case had been progressing slowly, at the request of Lamha to review her remand.

Prosecutor General’s Office appealed the Criminal Court’s order. The three judges who presided over the appeal, on Wednesday, decided to overturn the lower court’s decision to release Lamha from custody and uphold the court’s earlier decision to remand her in custody pending the outcome of her trial.

The three judges on the bench were Judge Hassan Shafeeu, Chief Judge Hussain Shaheed and Judge Abdulla Shaneez. The bench was chaired by Judge Shafeeu.

Mary was killed in her apartment on the first floor of Ma. Udhuheykokaage in Male’ City in the afternoon of October 19, 2021.

Her husband, Marvin S. Y. Vargas is charged with murder with intent, while Lamha – his mistress - is charged as an accomplice to murder and for unauthorized possession of controlled medical substances.

All three had worked as nurses at IGMH’s ER.

Marvin, who was also remanded in custody pending his trial’s end, remains in custody.

Marvin had taken Mary’s body to IGMH in an ambulance mere minutes after she had gone home for her break from work. He initially claimed her death as a suicide by hanging, and later changed his story and said she had suddenly collapsed.

Police found the death suspicious and opened an investigation.

Marvin was arrested on October 27, 2021. And Lamha was arrested on December 16, 2021.

An autopsy on Mary showed she died from injuries to her neck and head. Examiners also found traces succinylcholine - a medication used to cause short-term paralysis as part of general anesthesia - in her blood.

Investigators found a used succinylcholine injection, along with two other restricted injections from Lamha’s apartment.

Marvin faces a life sentence if found guilty, while Lamha faces at least six years in prison.