DUBAI // A 15-year-old runaway girl appeared in court charged with consensual sex - although a forensics report found she was a virgin - after reporting she was molested by a bus driver.
The Pakistani driver, NH, 23, is charged with having consensual sex with a minor. He denies intercourse but admitted to having physical contact with the girl with her consent.
According to law, the age of consent is 14 and "consensual sex" includes sexual acts other than intercourse.
The Emirati girl, MK, has been referred to Dubai Juvenile Court because of her age.
According to court records, MK ran away from her grandfather's house in Hor al Anz area on August 15 last year, trying to reach her mother's home in Al Qusais. MK told prosecutors in the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours that she left the house early that morning after a family dispute and went to a public park in the same neighbourhood.
She spent two days there, sitting near its gates after closing hours, records show. She told investigators that on the second day she met a man, who was not identified in records, and asked him whether he could give her a lift to Al Qusais.
The man told her that his friend, a bus driver, could help her and a few hours later he introduced her to NH.
NH offered the girl a lift, but told her he needed to drop off some passengers before taking her to Al Qusais.
Prosecutors said MK told them she was exhausted from lack of sleep and fell asleep on a back seat of the bus.
Prosecutors allege the driver stopped in a sandy car park near Dubai Police general headquarters and raped the girl while she was sleeping.
During investigations, MK said she did not wake up during the sexual encounter, but said she awakened to find herself undressed and the suspect standing over her.
She explained to investigators that she is a heavy sleeper and does not wake up easily.
"I started screaming and threatening him if I got pregnant," she told investigators.
She said NH drove them to a house, the location of which she was unsure, and brought her tablets he said would keep her from getting pregnant.
When MK arrived at her mother's house, she showed her the tablets and told her about the alleged incident. The mother took MK to Al Muraqqabat police station and filed a report.
According to the forensic report issued by the Dubai Police criminal laboratory, the girl was a virgin; however, the report also found traces of DNA evidence of sexual contact. And the medical examination showed signs of previous molestation.
According to Penal Code, Law Number 3 for 1987, juveniles committing criminal acts are to be referred to Juvenile Court, said the Emirati lawyer Yousuf Hammad. The same law stipulates that the age of consent is 14.
He noted that punishments differ for juveniles, and in this case, if convicted, MK may be ordered to visit specialists at the family dispute section in court.
Based on a report submitted by the specialists on the girl's condition and progress, the court may terminate or prolong the counselling.
Having consensual sex with a minor is punishable by not less than a year in prison, Mr Hammad said.