Dubai’s Courts will soon be able to issue fines for some minor offences like bounced cheques and swearing.
Gulf News reports that the emirate’s attorney general Essam Eisa Al Humaidan has issued the new decision, which will allow prosecutors in the Deira, Bur Dubai and the family and juvenile courts to start issuing criminal orders from December 4.
The change will allow prosecutors to fine those involved in minor offences rather than indicting them and later referring them to the Dubai Misdemeanours Court to stand trial.
Crimes covered under the order include bounced cheques of up to Dhs200,000, failing to pay for car or room rent of up to Dhs50,000, failing to pay for food and defamation and cursing by all but government sector employees.
Attempting suicide and disturbing victims through the use of telecoms systems will also be fineable offences.
The decision is expected to speed up the resolution of criminal orders as it allows the prosecutor to decide whether to indict a suspect and refer them to the court or dismiss the case.
Tourists in particular are expected to benefit from the change after a series of arrests that drew international headlines including that of a Scottish man, who was sentenced to three months in prison for public indecency after touching another man in a bar.
All charges against Jamie Harron, 27, were dropped the day after the court’s decision under the instructions of Dubai’s Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.
“There have been cases involving tourists, who came here to enjoy their holidays, but ended up getting stuck for weeks and months after having committed minor offences. In certain incidents, some litigants had to wait for six months,” prosecutor general Mohammad Ali Rustom told the publication.
“The criminal order reduces the waiting time for tourists, who end up being involved in such misdemeanours, and who do not have to wait for long periods awaiting to be referred to the Misdemeanours Court.”