ABU DHABI // A school-bus driver found guilty of raping a five-year-old boy did not receive a proper defence, the Court of Cassation ruled yesterday.
The court rejected the driver's 10-year jail sentence, ruling that the lawyer who defended him at the appeals court did not adequately represent him. It also noted that there was no proof the translator in the hearing had taken the legal oath.
His case will now be referred back to the appeals court.
The driver used to work for the same school as the boy he raped. He made the boy stay on the bus after dropping his fellow pupils at the school and was arrested after the boy told his parents he was in pain and had been raped.
The defence lawyer, Ali Al Abaddi, told the court that case records did not show whether the translator took the legal oath. He also said that the driver's previous lawyer, who was appointed by the appeals court, had simply asked for the court's mercy and requested a lighter sentence.
Mr Al Abaddi said there was no proper defence or argument made on behalf of the driver and that this deprived him of his legal right to representation.
The charge of molesting a minor can attract a death sentence.
The driver was first sentenced to two years by the Criminal Court of First Instance.
The public prosecution appealed against the verdict, seeking a harsher sentence, while the driver asked for a lighter one.
The appeals court replaced the first verdict with a 10-year sentence, which the driver appealed against at the Court of Cassation.