ABU DHABI // A 17-year-old should not have been tried as an adult because there was insufficient evidence to prove he had developed as an adult biologically, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday.
The teenager was accused of breaking into a shop at night and stealing cash.
Sharjah Criminal Court found him not guilty. However, public prosecution appealed and the Appeals Court overruled his acquittal and sentenced him to two months in jail.
However, he referred the verdict for cessation at the Federal Supreme Court, arguing that he was still 17 when the incident occurred on March 11, 2013.
Therefore, he should have faced trial as a juvenile and not as an adult.
The Supreme Court said according to the first article of law number 96/3, the Sharia Court is specialised in looking at cases that have penalties in Sharia, known as Hadd.
Such cases include theft, committing sex outside of wedlock, murder and consuming alcohol.
Article 2 of the law says offenders are treated as adults in such cases. But if they receive a Sharia punishment for the crime or a civil punishment, they need to be aged 18 or over or be fully mature.
However, the previous verdicts did not present any proof that the teenager was in fact a fully-developed adult when he committed the crime, which makes it incorrect to sentence him as an adult.
Therefore, the Supreme Court accepted the cessation and referred the verdict back to the Appeals Court.