criminal law


January 16, 2017



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The Public Prosecution, ordinarily, has a discretionary power to issue the pretrial imprisonment order unless there is a special case described in different regulations and provisions.

After questioning the accused, the Public Prosecution member may issue a pretrial imprisonment order, if he or she believes that the evidence is satisfactory and the deed is a felony or crime that is punished and penalized by other than a fine.

Such pretrial imprisonment orders shall include the name of the accused, his or her title, nationality, occupation, residence, charges and allegations, date of the order, location and time of appearance or attendance, name and signature of the public prosecution member, and it has to be stamped by the official seal.

One of the most common and collective questions which we receive is "Does the Public Prosecution have the right to put the prisoners in separate cells to prevent any contact between the detainees and other individuals?"

The answer to that is, even though it is very unlikely, but Article No. 109 of Federal Law No. (35) of 1992 gives the Public Prosecution the right to preclude such interaction between a detainee and other individuals but without prejudice to any right of the accused to meet and interact with his own attorney.

Amongst many other questions that we receive about detention, most are concerned with the period of the pretrial imprisonment or for how long it shall be effective.

Our observation leads us to respond that pretrial imprisonment could continue to be effective for as long as the investigation is ongoing. However, the law that contributes to the security of the detainee, ensures that each judicial authority has a limit to its power to issue the pretrial imprisonment order.

For instance, the first pretrial imprisonment order issued by the Public Prosecution shall not be more than seven days, which could be extended for an additional two weeks. If the two weeks expire and the Public Prosecution believes that it is in the best interest of justice and the investigation to prolong the detention period, they might lengthen it for a further period. Henceforth, the matter has to be referred to one of the criminal court judges, who shall review the file and request the attendance of the accused. The judge would then listen to the argument put forward by the accused and hear his statement. Subsequently, the judge would then decide on the extension of the detention, for a period not exceeding 30 days, renewable, or to release him on bail.

The judge could also decide to release him temporarily until the investigation is over. However, the judge during the stage of the investigation process is not authorized to decide whether to accept or dismiss the charges.

Nevertheless, it is imperative to mention here that the Public Prosecution has the right to close the case and dismiss the charges during the criminal investigation phase, where they discover and conclude that the evidence is not sufficient or there has been no occurrence of law-breaking.

So, in other words, during the investigation stage, only the Public Prosecution has the power to make such decisions but not the judge.

However, if the case has been transferred to the criminal court, the Public Prosecution will have no power to dismiss the case anymore and the entire discretionary power would then be transferred to the criminal court judge.

Disclaimer: This article comprises broad and general information about legal matters. The material is general advice and not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. The legal information in this article is extracted from the UAE Criminal Procedures Law Federal Law No. (35) Of the Year 1992 and based on our experiences as a law firm. The information provided is only guidelines. You should certainly not postpone pursuing legal advice, ignore legal advice, or begin or suspend any legal action because of the information provided in this article. You must not rely on the information in this article as a substitute for legal counsel from your attorney or any other practising professional legal services provider. This information is drafted by a licensed legal practitioner and sent from Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants which is a law firm duly licensed to practice law under UAE Law.

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