ABU DHABI // A judge accused of delivering a court verdict based on his personal interests instead of the law has been cleared of misconduct.
The complaint arose from a misdemeanour trial more than two years ago at the Sharjah Court of First Instance.
A woman, identified as R, accused another woman, D, of breaking into her apartment, insulting her and damaging her property.
After hearing the evidence, the judge had been expected to deliver his verdict on January 20, 2013.
Instead, he ruled that the original accused, D, was the victim, and that the original complainant, R, was the accused.
The judge said R had sent insulting messages on her phone to D. He ordered R’s passport to be confiscated and released her on bail of Dh50,000.
On March 31, although R had paid the Dh50,000 bail, the judge ordered her arrest.
And on April 15 he fined her Dh50,000 and sentenced her to a year in prison, followed by deportation.
R and public prosecution took the case to the Appeals Court, which overturned the judge’s verdict. It acquitted R and convicted D – the original accused – giving her a three-month suspended prison sentence and a Dh3,000 fine.
R then made a complaint about the judge to the judicial inspection department, and in June 2013 the Minister of Justice assigned a Federal Supreme Court judge to investigate his conduct of the case.
The Supreme Court judge found that the trial judge had behaved improperly at the original hearing by reversing the roles of accuser and accused, and by ordering the arrest of R despite her payment of bail.
He also heard a recording of a phone call made by D to R’s sister before the March 31 hearing, in which D predicted that unless R agreed to pay her Dh50,000 in settlement of the case, the judge would not issue a verdict on that date, but would instead adjourn the case for two weeks.
That this was exactly what happened in court on March 31 was thought to be evidence of possible collusion between the judge and D.
The Minister of Justice referred the judge to the judicial disciplinary council on charges of taking measures that contradicted the law.
The council has now ruled that there was no proof that the judge’s decisions in the case were based on his personal interests.
Similarities between what D predicted in her phone call and the events in court on March 31 were not conclusive evidence of collusion, the council ruled. It was possible that D was familiar with court procedures, and knew what was likely to happen.
The judge was cleared of misconduct. There is no appeal against the council’s ruling.