Defendant, 4 paralegals fined Dh50,000 each for altering 103 rulings between 2015 and 2016
Dubai: A Public Prosecution employee and four paralegals have been jailed for 10 years each for dealing in bribes and altering rulings issued in absentia and stored in the department’s internal classified filing system.
On Sunday, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the 21-year-old Emirati employee and his four Indian associates [the paralegals] of dealing in bribes worth more than Dh154,000 to access and change 103 rulings issued in absentia and stored in the internal classified filing system of the Public Prosecution’s Criminal Rulings Execution Section.
Presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi fined the five convicts Dh50,000 each and ordered them to jointly repay Dh154,000 to the Public Prosecution.
The four Indian defendants will be deported after serving their punishments.
According to the primary ruling, presiding judge Al Shamsi acquitted a Jordanian Public Prosecution employee, a Yemeni inspector at a government department, and an Indian suspect due to lack of corroborated evidence.
According to the case, which was said to be the first of its kind in the UAE, the Emirati took between Dh1,000 and Dh1,500 in bribes from the other suspects to access the 103 rulings issued by courts in absentia and had them changed to lenient punishments.
According to Sunday’s ruling, the Emirati accused abused his authority at the section, accepted bribes from others, accessed the internal classified filing system and changed the contents of judgements that judges had handed out against defendants, who failed to appear during the trial sessions, between January 2015 and March 2016.
Prosecution records said the Emirati took bribes of different amounts from the other suspects to access the minutes of hearings [in the internal classified filing system] and changed the content of rulings.
The Emirati defendant, thereafter, would print out a form with a newer content [changed ruling] to confirm in the filing system that the pertinent ruling had been executed.
Prosecutors’ investigation revealed that the 21-year-old changed rulings in 103 criminal cases against convicts between January 2015 and March 2016.
The rulings in absentia that were found to have been electronically changed [through the filing system] were all handed out by the Courts of Misdemeanours, Appeal and Residency.
The 21-year-old defendant committed an electronic forgery when he accessed the rulings in absentia and changed them so that he could print out an official paper confirming that the aforementioned ruling had been executed to hand it over to the other suspects.
Based on those printouts, the other accomplices would obtain newer papers [official documents] mentioning that the arrest and search warrants [that are usually issued against defendants sentenced in absentia] had been cancelled [based on the altered rulings], said records.
In one of the altered rulings, the Emirati replaced the six-month imprisonment against a defendant, who had signed a cheque that bounced, with a Dh10,000 fine.
In another ruling, he collected bribe to change the six-month imprisonment and deportation order against a defendant to Dh2,000 fine.
In another example of the changed rulings, the accused took bribe to change a Dh200,000 fine to Dh10,000.
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the trial started in May last year.
The convicted defendants have already appealed Sunday’s ruling.