Legal Articles / Criminal Law


Witness Hearing Before the Criminal Courts

criminal law

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January 16, 2017

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1258 views


The witnesses have to be invited to attend the hearing on the basis of a request from one of the parties. After the approval of the court. The official notice will have to be sent at least 1 day before the hearing date.

Although the parties to the case have the right to bring their witnesses without prior notice, however that would still be subjected to getting the court's approval.

If the court requests to hear the statement of one of the witnesses, it has the right to ensure their attendance by issuing a warrant order, if the court finds it to be necessary. The court has another discretionary power, to charge the witnesses for not attending the hearing. However, it would not be more than 1000 Dirhams. If he did not attend after receiving a fine, the court has a discretionary power to issue an arrest order against the witness.

If, however, the witnesses, apologized to for not attending the hearing and provide reasons such as sickness, the court has the right to re-locate or move the witness's place, if the court finds it to be necessary.

Nevertheless, if the court considers that the excuse of the witness if false, it will have the right to order jail sentence, not more than three months or fines not exceeding 2000 Dirhams.

One of the most common questions which will be addressed to all witness would be about their nationality, address, relationship with the victim or the accused. They would also inquire if the witnesses had been held in the police stations or the Prosecution before. The court has the right to request for the witnesses' previous statement to be read out loud during the hearing, in case it is contradictory.

If there is a witness hearing in the criminal proceedings, the prosecutors, the victim, the accused and his attorney have the right to address the questions to the witnesses, however, it would be subjected to the approval of the court.

Although it is unlikely to be accepted but both parties, have the right to request, rehearing for the same witness or to request additional witnesses. Witnesses may not be heard together. Each one, usually are heard individually.

In most of the cases, the court asks them to not leave the chamber until the hearing is completed. However, the courts have the right to make the witnesses confront one another. The courts may refuse addressing any questions to the witnesses, if they consider it to be irrelevant or not related to the case. The courts have to protect the witnesses' implicit or explicit statements that might cause distraction or intimidation. Furthermore, the court has the right to refuse listening to any facts from the witnesses, which it deems to be sufficiently clear.

After the hearing is completed, the court has the discretionary power to allow the prosecutor, accused and all other parties to the case to have a talk. In all cases, the accused shall be the last one to talk, which is in accordance with Article 169 of UAE Criminal Procedures Law. The courts have the discretionary power to prevent the accused or other parties in the case, to speak outside of the litigation or to keep them from repeating their statement on irrelevant points.

If one of the accused did not attend in the beginning of the hearing, the court might reconsider permitting him to attend upon his late arrival. However, it falls under the discretion of the court.

Lastly, it important for all witnesses to bring their own ID along before attending the hearings.

Disclaimer: This article comprises broad and general information about legal materials. The material is general advice and not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. The legal information in this article is provided is extracted from the UAE Criminal Procedures Law Federal Law No. (35) Of the Year 1992 and based on our experiences as a law firm. The information provided are only guidelines. You should certainly not postpone pursuing legal advice, ignore legal advice, or begin or suspend any legal action because of information provided in this article. You must not rely on the information in this article as a substitute to legal counsel from your attorney or any other practiced professional legal services provider.This information is drafted by licensed legal practitioner and sent from Al Rowaad Advocates & Legal Consultants which is duly licensed law firm to practice law under UAE Law.


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