Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large

More courts open to tackle petty crime

The chief justice says the increase in offences is a by-product of modern life, caused by the pressures of living in a crowded city.

DUBAI // A rise in the number of petty crimes has prompted officials to increase the number of courts to avoid a backlog of cases, according to Dubai's Criminal Court Chief Justice. Chief Justice Ahmad Ibrahim Saif said the increase was necessary to "reduce the pressure on judges so that individual cases are given more attention".

The number of misdemeanour courts in Dubai has been increased to 10 from eight to deal with the flow of cases; now each weekday three to five misdemeanour courts are in session. Justice Saif said most of misdemeanour cases center on incidents involving alcohol and bounced cheques, which were a problem long before the financial crisis occurred because postdated cheques - known as guarantee cheques - are commonfor spreading payments.

"There is no such thing as a guarantee cheque in law," the justice said. "When you issue a cheque you are responsible for guaranteeing that the sum of money on the cheque is available in your account to cover that cheque on the date mentioned." He added that even if someone ordered his bank to stop payment on a cheque, he would still be liable and could be prosecuted if the cheque was not honoured.

Anothern common misdemeanour offence is yelling insults or making rude gestures on the road. "Such instances are all too common in any crowded city," Justice Saif said. "The increase in cases is a natural by-product of modern life; in daily human interactions disagreements between people occur," he said, adding that the increase in both criminal and misdemeanour cases was normal and within predictable limits.

"When you compare the number of cases in Dubai with other countries, you find the crime rate here is very low. "What with the increasing number of people living in Dubai from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, some crime is expected." In the past eight months, the most common cases before the criminal courts in Dubai have been drug-related, with 231 such cases heard since September. The next most common crime was theft; since Sept 2008, the courts have heard 214 theft cases, including mugging, armed robbery, fraud and embezzlement. Over the same period there were 45 sex cases.

There were 17 cases of murder, deadly assault and attempted murder in the past eight months - an average of 2.1 a month. "In cases of murder you find multiple reasons, as you notice from attending court hearings. You cannot say killings occur mostly over money or honour. "In some cases, for example, two lifelong friends get into an argument over a minor issue and it escalates and one kills the other," the justice said.

While the death penalty is applicable in cases of premeditated murder, the sentence is rarely passed and even more seldom carried out. There have been no executions in Dubai for eight years. hbathish@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 Lionel Richie performed many of his hits from the 1970s and 1980s at the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre. Jaime Puebla / The National

Lionel Richie dishes out the hits to Dubai crowd

At his Dubai concert on Thursday, Richie greeted the audience with “Yalla habibi” – a statement of intent as his energy rarely let up.

Tyrese reunited with Fazza

Tyrese today posted on his social media accounts (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) his pleasure at being reunited with the Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

 Falconry is an activity where they demonstrate how falcons catch prey while flying at a speed of almost 360 kilometres per hour. Mona Al-Marzooqi / The National

In pictures: Adventure in the desert at Abu Dhabi's Qasr Al Sarab

Mohammad Ashfaq, an adventure guide at the Qasr Al Sarab resort, Abu Dhabi, showcases a day in his working life.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National