Three accused get fresh chance at justice

ABU DHABI — The Federal Supreme Court, taking cognisance of the absence of a defence counsel, has scrapped jail terms ranging from 9-15 years passed by a lower court against three persons for possessing, smuggling, and abusing drugs.

By Adel Arafah

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Published: Thu 27 Jul 2006, 11:48 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 1:47 PM

The apex court pronounced the previous ruling null and void on the same premise.

The public prosecution framed separate charges against Mohammed Sulaiman, Loai Muftah, and Mohammed Saeed, case records show.

The first named was accused of possessing and smuggling drugs with the intention of trafficking and of being party to the abuse of narcotics by the second and third accused.

The second accused was charged with assaulting a civil service employee on duty, identified as Ali Rashed, and causing him injuries.

The third accused was charged with assaulting another civil employee, identified as Khalfan Humaid, who too was on duty.

The third accused, after running into Humaid's car under the influence of narcotics, pinned the latter's leg between the car's door and its body. Humaid was driving a Fujairah Police General Directorate vehicle.

The prosecution submitted that the accused be penalised in line with the Federal Penal Code and related anti-narcotics and traffic laws. The case was referred to the Fujairah Shariah Criminal Court which, on July 18, 2004, sentenced the first accused to 10 years in prison, besides issuing a fine of Dh50,000 in view of the charges of possessing and smuggling drugs. The court also ordered another five-year jail term and a Dh20,000 fine for assisting the second and third accused in abusing drugs.

The second accused was sentenced to four years for abusing drugs besides a five-year term and a fine of Dh20,000 for assaulting a civil employee on duty.

As for the third accused, he was handed a four-year jail term for abusing drugs besides a five-year jail term and a fine of Dh20,000 for assaulting a civil employee on duty. He was given an additional one-month jail term for driving under the influence of narcotics besides another one-month jail term for causing damage to the police vehicle.

The first and second accused were also ordered to be deported after completing their prison terms. The three convicts contested the verdicts at the Fujairah Shariah Criminal Court, which commuted the jail-term issued against the first accused to seven years, but confirmed the other penalties.

The case was taken to the Apex Court which, on June 19, 2006, sustained the convicts' petitions on the ground that the previous hearings had been held without defence lawyers, which violated law and public order.

The case was subsequently sent back to the Fujairah Shariah Criminal Court for a fresh hearing before another bench of judges.

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