Men jailed for starting fire in ‘religious ritual’ in Sharjah

The Supreme Court ruled that their negligence led to the incident and sentenced them each to a month in prison.

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ABU DHABI // Two men who left lit candles and wooden bowls inside wardrobe were responsible for starting a fire in their apartment which injured their flat mate, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The pair had lit some candles and oils as part of religious rituals, and placed them with wooden bowls in a wardrobe located in the central living room of the apartment, surrounded by flammable objects.

They were charged with negligence and ignoring safety precautions by leaving the items near flammable objects, without any observation.

The Sharjah First Instance Court sentenced them to a year in jail for unintentionally starting the fire which injured one woman.

The Appeals Court reduced the sentence to a month in jail for each.

The case was then referred to the Federal Supreme Court, where it was argued that the verdict did not clarify what mistake they committed to cause the fire, and whether they had criminal intent.

The lower courts did not mention their defence claims in the verdict.

The Supreme Court dismissed their argument, saying that negligence is a form of fault that leads to criminal responsibility; “as it would not have been predictable for the accident to occur without that mistake.”

Forensic lab reports confirmed that the fire was caused by the defendants’ negligence and broke the law and regulations of the building when they left the lit candles and items in the wardrobe, the Supreme Court rejected the argument and upheld the appeals verdict.