Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Public Prosecution loses child abuse appeal

An interesting verdict yesterday from the Abu Dhabi Court of Appeal I thought.

It related to a high profile case, deliberately high profile because the authorities wanted to raise awareness of child abuse.

The original hearing was the first case in which journalists were invited by the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department to attend court proceedings.

In that original hearing the father and step-mother were sentenced to ten years each for severely abusing their daughter, causing her permanent disability.

The sentences were appealed by Public Prosecution who asked for the maximum penalty of fifteen years.

The parents also appealed, obviously asking for the sentences to be reduced.

Yesterday the court decided in favour of the parents and cut the sentences to seven years.

Given the injuries suffered by the little girl my sympathies are with Public Prosecution.

The subject has support at the highest level. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, visited the victim in hospital. Both he and Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of Interior, have spoken out strongly against child abuse.

This sentence from the report in The National is disturbing, especially in light of the high level and official involvement:

Despite the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department’s renewed call for transparency, the judge declined to give any reason for reducing the sentence.

Independence of the judiciary is vital to a good legal system, but secrecy helps no-one.

The full report is in The National.


Dave said...

Amazing that the judge declined to give any reason for reducing the sentence.... it made me read your blog on "wasta" again....

Dubai Jazz said...

This is strange.

The appeal hearing session was also closed to public.

And the article doesn't say on what ground the parents' appeal was presented.

Seabee said...

Jazz, yes it is very strange. The whole appeal hearing seems to have been handled completely opposite to the original hearing.

Rupert Neil Bumfrey said...

I am just amazed/disgusted at the reduction!

Does anybody know if there is any UAE national blogging on this subject?

After the high profile hospital visit of The Crown Prince and his daughter, I find it hard to believe the "independent judiciary" is seen as a good thing by the ruling classes.

beansabinebeansabinebeansabine said...

Shows how messed up the morals of the authorities here are.