The Criminal Court on Thursday ruled that local hip-hop artist Ismail ‘Pest’ Ifham Mohamed and three other co-defendants were not guilty of the drug trafficking charges brought against them by the state. The three others acquitted along with Pest were Mohamed Suaid, Ahmed Shammoon, and Ahmed Husham.

Pest and Suaid were charged with trafficking in diamorphine, trafficking in cannabis, and trafficking in a Schedule 1 narcotic. Diamorphine is more commonly known as heroin. Shammoon was charged for possession of illicit drug funds, and Husham was charged with aiding and abetting.

The Criminal Court ruled that the state had failed to establish guilt. Judge Hussain Faiz Rashad, pointing out procedural irregularities, ruled that the police had acted in bad faith and in contradiction to proper procedure, thus invalidating the evidence used against the accused. Even if the irregularities were overlooked, the state had failed to connect the accused to the evidence presented, the judge said.

While the drugs were recovered from inside a fan on a boat, enough time had passed between it being loaded on the vessel and the police arriving on the scene to cast doubt on whether the accused had hidden the drugs in the fan, as it was readily accessible to others onboard, the judgment read.

As for the charge on the possession of money gained through criminal and illicit means, the judgment observed that the police had, in the absence of a court order, obtained the bank statements submitted as evidence illegally – and that there was no clear link that the transactions on record were illegal.

Pest, who had been remanded in custody pending trial since his arrest, has now been released along with Suaid, Shammoon, and Husham.