Lawyer tells court recorded voice isn’t his client’s as 8 suspects deny bribery and forgery charges
Dubai: A lawyer asked a court on Wednesday to listen to the recordings of his client’s voice that were recorded during a sting operation in a case of forging court judgements.
In February, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed a 21-year-old Emirati public prosecution employee and four Indian paralegals for 10 years each for dealing in bribes worth more than Dh154,000 to access and change 103 rulings issued in absentia and stored in the internal classified filing system of the Public Prosecution’s Criminal Rulings Execution Section.
The five convicts were each fined Dh50,000 each and ordered to jointly repay Dh154,000 to the Public Prosecution. Meanwhile, three other suspects were acquitted of any wrongdoing.
The five convicts appealed the verdict before the Appeal Court and sought to be acquitted.
Prosecutors also appealed the three suspects’ acquittal.
“Law enforcement officers recorded my client’s voice in a sting operation during one of the alleged bribery incidents. The voice in the aforementioned recordings is not that of my client … the voice is that of someone else. We want to hear the recordings to confirm whether it is the suspect’s voice or not,” the lawyer told the Dubai Appeal Court’s presiding judge Saeed Salem Bin Sarm on Wednesday.
The five convicts renewed their not guilty plea in courtroom 20.
The three acquitted suspects refuted the allegations against them.
During Wednesday’s hearing, eight lawyers placed their demands before the Appeal Court and asked for an adjournment until they prepare their defence arguments.
According to the primary ruling, a Jordanian Public Prosecution employee, a Yemeni inspector at a government department, and an Indian suspect were cleared due to lack of corroborated evidence.
According to the case, the Emirati employee took between Dh1,000 and Dh1,500 in bribes from the other suspects to access the 103 rulings issued by courts in absentia and had them changed to lenient punishments.
Records said the 21-year-old defendant abused his authority at the section, accepted bribes from others, accessed the internal classified filing system and changed the contents of judgements that judges had handed out against defendants, who failed to appear during the trial sessions, between January 2015 and March 2016.
He also took bribes of different amounts from the other suspects to access the minutes of hearings [in the internal classified filing system] and changed the content of rulings.
Records said the Emirati used to print a form with a newer content [changed ruling] to confirm in the filing system that the pertinent ruling had been executed.
Prosecutors’ investigation revealed that the 21-year-old changed rulings in 103 criminal cases against convicts between January 2015 and March 2016.
The rulings in absentia that were found to have been electronically changed [through the filing system] were all handed out by the Courts of Misdemeanours, Appeal and Residency.
The appellate court reconvenes next month.