Question: A member of my family was working for a company and he forwarded confidential information to a third party. He did not know that it was a crime and now he has been arrested. What should he expect as punishment?
Answer: Article 379 of the UAE Penal Code states that punishment by detention for a period of not less than one year and by a fine of not less than Dh20,000, or either of these two penalties, shall apply to anyone who is entrusted with a secret by virtue of his profession, trade, position or art and who discloses it in cases other than those lawfully permitted. However, there are options his lawyer could pursue. The information he disclosed must be deemed secret by the company and if it is not then no crime exists. Another argument could be posing the question: what benefit did he received from this act and what profit did he or anyone make from it? If there is none, this strengthens his position. Also, it would be worth checking if the company had authorised your family member to share confidential information as, if it has, this could again work in his favour. Taking into consideration that this matter falls under the criminal court’s jurisdiction, his lawyer would have the right to request to bring witnesses in to testify on his behalf.