‘Keep an eye on teenagers’

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‘Keep an eye on teenagers’

Cases involving juveniles are known to increase in the summer usually, with teens becoming more involved in street fights.

By Marie Nammour

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Published: Tue 19 Jul 2011, 12:45 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 5:57 AM

Hence, there is a need for more care and attention from the parents, stresses Mohammed Ali Rustom Buabdullah, Chief Prosecutor of the Family and Juveniles Prosecution.

In an interview with Khaleej Times, Buabdullah expressed his hope that rules and laws would be issued to prohibit carrying of knives and swords by youth unnecessarily. At the same time, he urged the families to give more attention and take more care of their children, especially those who are passing through the sensitive period of teenage.

The case in which 13-year-old Emirati Ali Mohammed Hassan was brutally stabbed to death by five local teens in Rashidiya has been the most serious juvenile case till now. “We really hope that such crimes do not happen again. We deal with such cases in a very strict way, especially when it comes to releasing the accused on bail. The five defendants in Ali’s case had been denied bail all along,” Buabdullah said.

Educational activitiesin summer

“In the summer and due to the absence of any occupation, teens would be more inclined towards delinquency,” warned Buabdullah. “When a juvenile commits an offence or a crime, the blame should not be laid on the police as they can’t possibly place officers in every corner. It is the family’s responsibility to be in charge of their sons and girls, especially the teens, and to watch out for the company of friends they choose to be with.”

The prosecution recently launched a pilot programme titled ‘Nibras’ (an Arabic word which means the ‘well-lit road’) for school students of both sexes of ages 14 to 17 years. It comprised simplified legal lectures and a visit to the court chambers. Ninety-three per cent of the participants expressed satisfaction at the programme.

“Nibras was meant as an awareness campaign for the youths against the crimes and their consequences and penalties. The programme was in coordination with the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA)”.

Reconciliation in50% of family cases

While juvenile cases are mainly assault and theft, family cases are all about insult, assault and threat. Family cases can involve relatives up to the fourth degree (that includes cousins).

Settlement in family cases has seen a success rate of 50 per cent and it is a matter of joint efforts by the police, prosecution, and the Family Court of Misdemeanour. “Sometimes, a dispute between the spouses is settled at the police station when it has already reached us. Amicable settlement is taken care of by our social care assistants at the prosecution. Even when we refer a family case to the Family Court of Misdemeanour, the judge will do everything in his power to bring about reconcilation between the disputing parties.”

The family cases can be about offences or crimes which are referred to the Court of First Instance. “If the male spouse does not keep up to his promises he gave to us upon reconciliation towards ending his disputes, mainly major ones, with his wife, we find ourselves compelled to put him behind bars. Other marital problems can happen like, for instance, when a wife is beaten by her husband because she goes out of the house without his permission. Inattention and carelessness on the part of the husband can also be behind some marital problems, like when the husband takes more than a wife to the detriment of his original wife and mother of his children.”

Women prosecutors excel

There are eight members at the Family and Juveniles Prosecution including five women prosecutors. “Women prosecutors have proved to be hard workers and up to the challenges and difficulties in the job.

Cases are being given to prosecutors equally except in some cases which involve mainly girls where women prosecutors are preferred.” Training sessions in psychology have been organised in which everyone has to be part of — from psychiatrists to social researchers and assistants up to the reception staff.

Reasons behindjuvenile delinquency

Family negligence and inattention, father’s frequent absence from home, lack of affection, and harmful company of friends are the main reasons for a juvenile to lose the right path. “We do our best to bring to the parents’ attention the bad effects their inattention can have on their children’s behaviour and defining future. When we exhaust all possible means to raise the parents’ awareness, we resort to our partners, including the Community Development Authority (CDA), the Juvenile Awareness and Care Association and Dubai Women and Children Establishment.” Some of these establishments are often requested to provide shelter and orientation for the delinquent juveniles for the necessary period of time.

Approach on acase-to-case basis

Jail and deprivation of release on bond deposit await juveniles caught for serious crimes such as assault with swords and knives and murder. Rulings and decisions are also left to the discretion of the judge to place the teen at a juvenile prison, a care shelter or special care establishment where he will be made to attend rehabilitation and reform programmes and be subject to close and constant follow-up on the rectification of deficiencies that led to his jail term.

Very few juveniles are implicated in sodomy cases by the prosecution, according to the Chief Prosecutor. The Juveniles Prosecution tackles the cases where the defendant is a juvenile but the cases in which only the victim is a minor are referred to other prosecution depending on the jurisdiction.

Cases received by the Family and Juveniles Prosecution may not always make it to the courts. “About 30 per cent of the cases are closed and not referred to the courts. Reasons for that could be insufficient evidence, absence of the criminal elements, inauthentic grounds and incompatibility between the technical evidence and allegations and statements of witnesses,” Buabdullah pointed out.

mary@khaleejtimes.com



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