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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Reckless drivers made to sweep streets and man petrol pumps by Abu Dhabi court

Several Emiratis sentenced to community service punishments over road offences.

A man completing community service in the Al Dhafra region. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
A man completing community service in the Al Dhafra region. Courtesy Abu Dhabi Judicial Department

Four Emiratis and another man have been sentenced to community service after being convicted of reckless driving.

The men were found guilty in three separate cases that involved road violations in the Al Dhafrah region.

Abu Dhabi Judicial Department released pictures of the men sweeping the streets, filling up motorists' cars at petrol stations and gardening outside public buildings. The punishment is becoming more common after first being used by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in Dubai in February.

The first Emirati defendant was convicted of driving recklessly and putting other road users' lives in danger. He then refused to follow police orders and "swerved dangerously," endangering the police patrol that was chasing him.

A group of men have been sentenced to community service in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafrah Region. The punishments include working for free as petrol attendants and sweeping the streets. 13 July 2017. Photo Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
A group of men have been sentenced to community service in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafrah Region. The punishments include working for free as petrol attendants and sweeping the streets. 13 July 2017. Photo Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Judicial Department

The court ordered him to complete three months' community serve and to pay a Dh16,000 fine for driving without a licence. He was also found guilty of causing a lot of noise on the road, driving a car without a number plate and without even taking the permission of its owner.

The second case involved two Emiratis who physically attacked one another and damaged each others' cars. Prosecutors said they endangered their own lives when the first man deliberately crashed into the car of the other. They were also convicted of reckless driving. A third defendant, who was from another GCC country, was found guilty of allowing the second man to drive his car without a driver's licence. The trio were sentenced to two months' community service each and the first man's car will be confiscated for one year.

The last case involved an Emirati youth driving a car without a number plate and causing noise on the road. He was sentenced to one month of community service and fined Dh500. His driver's licence will be also confiscated for three months.

A group of men have been sentenced to community service in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafrah Region. The punishments include working for free as petrol attendants and sweeping the streets. 13 July 2017. Photo Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Judicial Department
A group of men have been sentenced to community service in Abu Dhabi's Al Dhafrah Region. The punishments include working for free as petrol attendants and sweeping the streets. 13 July 2017. Photo Courtesy: Abu Dhabi Judicial Department

Prosecutors said that they will be following up with the performance of the young men during their community service, and if they fail to do the assigned jobs, they will be instructed to another form of community service.

Abu Dhabi attorney general Ali Al Buloushi said such traffic violations have been on the rise during the summer holidays among youths aged between 18 and 30.

Community service as a punishment is designed to give violators a chance to abide by the rules and learn from their mistakes, he added.

Another man convicted for reckless driving tends to a tree.
Another man convicted for reckless driving tends to a tree.

The law was updated last year to include community service as a penalty for a number of offences and a substitute to imprisonment.

On March 1, Abu Dhabi established a special prosecution department for cases that community service orders apply to, so efforts and expertise could be focused on this type of punishment.

Later that month, the first community service sentence was issued in Abu Dhabi against an Emirati “jobless youth” after he was convicted of driving his car to show off “in a crazy manner” under what prosecutors classified as dangerous circumstances, considering the heavy rain. He was ordered to clean the streets for three months.

Since then there has been at least a dozen of such sentences issued by Abu Dhabi Courts. In Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed used the sentence again for two men who got two dogs to kill a cat. They were told to clean Dubai Zoo for three months.