Legal experts weigh in on the system’s punishment of obliging defendants to perform community service

A unique court-ordered punishment has gotten reckless drivers to literally clean up their act.

In a recent verdict, a traffic court in Al Ain fined three drivers Dh50,000 each, suspended their licenses for three months and confiscated their vehicles. Additionally, the court also made them clean the streets on which they had performed stunts.

The incident, which came to light through viral videos on social media, not only resulted in damage to the public road but also posed a threat to the safety of those in the vicinity. This prompted authorities to intervene, leading to the arrest of the drivers and subsequent legal proceedings.

To gain insights into the punishment of obliging defendants to perform community service, particularly in the form of cleaning the streets, we sought the opinion of legal experts.

Hassan Elhais, a legal consultant at Awatif Mohamed Shoqi advocates and legal consultancy, expressed his support for community service as an effective solution.

According to Elhais, community service serves multiple purposes, including deterring the accused, promoting reform, enhancing responsibility, and providing a first-hand understanding of the consequences and costs incurred due to vandalism.

“It’s perfect because it enhances responsibility so that he does not repeat the crime and see with his own eyes the effort and cost expended in places of vandalism or the resulting damage, whether it is the fatigue of workers cleaning the roads or the cost of the government in repairing the streets and the damage,” Hassan told Khaleej Times.

Barney Almazar, a director at the corporate-commercial department of Gulf Law, shed light on the legal aspects of the punishment.

He mentioned that minor offences, such as traffic violations, can be penalized with fines, community service, or imprisonment. Referring to the relevant articles of the Penal Code, Almazar highlighted the withdrawal of the driving license as a disqualifying measure.

Drawing from his experience, he stated that community service has proven effective in correcting the behaviour of offenders and acting as a deterrent for future offences.

Additionally, it provides offenders with an educational component, enabling them to comprehend the impact of their actions on the community.

Both legal experts agree that the recent verdict aligns with the UAE’s evolving approach to justice, which emphasises restorative practices over punitive measures. Almazar supports the imposition of community service, citing its effectiveness in correcting behaviour and preventing repeated offences.

By focusing on rehabilitation and community engagement, the UAE’s justice system aims to build a harmonious and responsible society. Community service not only holds individuals accountable for their actions but also fosters personal growth and a sense of community responsibility. It serves as a promising alternative that balances accountability with opportunities for reform and community betterment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *