PG requests to clarify when right to remain silent cannot be used

Prosecutor General (PG) Hussain Shameem was the President of MDN for 5 years between 2007 and 2016 | Photo: Nishan Ali

Male’, Maldives – Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has asked to clarify circumstances at which the right to remain silent cannot be used and it’s consequences.

PG Shameem, in a statement last week, said that even though the constitution gives defendants the right to remain silent, while giving out information that cannot be used as evidence against the defendant- the defendant does not have this right.

And that while investigative authorities tell the defendant that they have the right to remain silent, the consequences are not explained by these authorities. This leads to evidence supporting the dependent to not be revealed, making it difficult to make sure justice is served, said Shameem in his statement.

Due to this, starting from the fifth of January, PG Shameem has advised that when questioning for an investigation, the defendant should disclose information that cannot be used against them, and that the questioner must clarify that it is not included in their right to remain silent.

In addition, when investigating facts supporting the defendant, if supporting evidence is found but not stated, and revealed later – the questioner must clarify this evidence may not be accepted and that the weight of the said evidence is affected.

Furthermore, the PG advised that audio or video evidence of the questioner explaining this to the defendant must be available.

PG Shameem’s advice comes in a blog post after a teacher was to be charged after pornography was found on the said teacher’s phone. The teacher used their right to remain silent during questioning, as he was advised to by his lawyer and Police, but later evidence, supporting the teacher surfaced. The weight of the said evidence may have been affected due to this.