ABU DHABI // Three government officials who installed CCTV cameras at a women’s customer service centre have been cleared once again – by the fifth court to look at their case.
The Court of Cassation found them not guilty of breaching female employees’ privacy by setting the cameras at a federal authority’s women’s branch, overruling earlier suspended jail sentences and a deportation order against one of the defendants.
And since the Court of Cassation is the supreme judicial authority in the emirate, its verdict is final and not subject to further appeal.
Public prosecution had also charged A K, who was the general director of a federal authority at the time, M A, the manager of one of the authority’s branches in Al Ain - both Emiratis, and a Lebanese IT manager P, with breaching public security by setting the cameras.
The Misdemeanor Court of First Instance found them guilty of breaching privacy and sentenced them to six-months suspended jail sentences, but cleared them of the second charge. P was also sentenced to deportation.
The trio appealed the verdict and the court cleared them of all charges. However, public prosecution appealed their acquittal at the Court of Cassation.
And the court found vague and contradictory elements in the appeals verdict so it bounced the case back to appeals.
The second Court of Appeals found them guilty of the first charge, and upheld the misdemeanor court’s ruling.
The verdict was appealed again at the Court of Cassation, and the latest and final ruling cleared them of all charges.
Throughout the case, the trio continued to deny their charges. They argued that the cameras, which the employees were aware of, had been introduced for security purposes. They also argued that the authority’s regulations did not entitle employees to any privacy, for security reasons.
The defendants spent two months in jail before being released on bail after an order by a judge at the Court of Appeals.
While the Court of First Instance had convicted them of one charge, and cleared them of the other - breaching public security - the earlier appeals court cleared them of all charges.
However, public prosecution further appealed the verdict at the Court of Cassation.
The senior court found the first appeals verdict vague and unclear in identifying the elements it based its acquittal upon. Therefore, the cassation was accepted and the case bounced back to appeals to be heard by a new panel of judges.