How Do I Report False Accusations in a Court Case? – Part I

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The United Arab Emirates criminalizes filing false complaints if the complainant knows that the crime has not been committed. The punishment could vary between a fine or a jail sentence and this depends on the discretion of the courts. To consider whether a case for false complaint is to be filed, it will be required to show that the complainant submitted the complaint and the complaint includes acts through which the victim could be made subject to penalty. Moreover, the victim will have to prove that the complaint is proven to be false and the complainant was sure that it was false at the time of filing the case.

The UAE law criminalizes filing false complaints for many reasons. These include: (a) protecting the individual from false accusations, (b) saving time for justice authorities to not be involved in investigating cases where it is known that the accusations are false, and (c) to prevent criminals from using false complaints as a negotiation tool or a revenge method. Therefore, it is important to criminalize false complaints to maintain justice in the community.

Criminalization under the UAE Penal Code

Filing false complaints is criminalized in most countries of the world and in the UAE, it has been criminalized under Articles 324 and 325 of the Federal Decree Law No. 31 of 2021 on the Issuance of the Crimes and Penalties Law (UAE Penal Code), which state the following:

Article 324:

Any person who reports to the judicial authority or administrative authorities, accidents or risks who do not exist at such time or contrary to the truth or who reports a crime knowing that it is not actually committed, shall be liable to a jail sentence for period not exceeding six (6) months and a fine or either one of these two penalties.

Article 325:

Any person who, with bad intent, makes a false report to the judicial authority or administrative authorities, accusing a person of committing a matter which requires criminal or administrative punishment, even if such matter has not resulted in instituting the criminal or disciplinary action, and any person who creates material evidence to accuse a person of committing a crime contrary to the truth or causes legal proceedings to be initiated against a person knowing that he is innocent, shall be liable to a jail sentence and a fine or either one of these two penalties.

A jail sentence and a fine shall be imposed in the two cases if the fabricated crime is a felony. If the false accusation results in a conviction with a felony punishment, the false accuser shall be sentenced to the same penalty imposed thereof.

View of The UAE Courts on False Complaint Cases

Filing false complaints is considered a crime which affects the justice process and is considered a misdemeanor, which means its sentence will not exceed 3 years. For this crime to exist, it is important to show the bad faith of the person who filed the false accusation.

In Case No. 17 of 2013, decided by the Federal High Court on 15 May 2013, the Court noted that it requires five factors to consider a person guilty of false complaints.

  1. If he has raised a complaint.
  2. This complaint could lead to potential punishment or penalty.
  3. This complaint was being raised to a judicial or administrative authority.
  4. It should be clear that the complaint was false.
  5. The victim has to show that the complainant knew that it was false and intended to harm the victim.

In another case decided by the Federal High Court in Abu Dhabi, Cassation No. 241 of the Judicial Year 25, the Court decided on 25 December 2004, that it shall not be considered as a false complaint if the complainant has reported the crime without naming the exact person as accused.

Impact of Partly True Criminal Complaint  

Another question which arises is, whether changing facts in the criminal complaint is enough to file a false complaint case, even when part of the criminal complaint was true?

To answer this point, we would refer to the decision of the Federal High Court of Abu Dhabi in Cassation No. 39 of the Judicial Year 19, where it decided in its hearing on 20 April 1994, that it is not necessary that the whole complaint is false, but it is enough to raise a case of false complaint if there was a change of the facts leading to the involvement of the accused in the crime.

Conclusion

While it is clear that filing a criminal case might lead to criminal sanctions, certain questions may come to the reader’s mind. Can complaints made to judicial or administrative authorities fall within the scope of false complaints? What documents does a person need in order to file a criminal case for false complaints? What are the challenges or roadblocks for filing a criminal case for false complaints? Read the next part of this series to find the answers.

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