x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Schoolgirl accused of sex to see psychiatrist

An appeals court orders the Brazilian teenager to undergo an examination in case involving alleged sex with her bus driver.

ABU DHABI // The Brazilian girl who was sentenced to jail for consensual sex with her school bus driver has been ordered by an appeals court to undergo a psychiatric examination. 

In the original trial, the girl, who was 14 at the time of the offence, said she had been raped by the Pakistani driver, a claim she later retracted. She was tried as an adult in the Criminal Court of First Instance because Sharia was applied. Both were convicted of having consensual sex.

The girl was sentenced to six months in prison and deportation and the driver was sent to jail for a year plus deportation. However, by law, if the girl had been tried as a minor, she would not have faced a prison sentence and would probably had been referred to counselling and supervision, said Mazen Tajeddine, a legal counsellor. Yesterday's hearing at the Abu Dhabi Appeals Court was closed because the appeal centres on the contention that the girl is a minor.

This was the second time she and the driver, MH, had appeared in the Appeals Court. MH was appointed a new lawyer at the last hearing. If the court finds MH had sex with a minor, under the penal code he would face a sentence of no less than two years, plus a fine. 

Court records show that the initial Sharia charge of zina - sex out of wedlock - was changed to one of consensual sex because the charge did not meet Sharia standards after the girl withdrew the rape allegation.

For a conviction of zina, according to Sharia, four reliable witnesses must have seen the act, or the accused must have confessed before the court.

hdajani@thenational.ae