14 Mar 2021

HADEF IN THE COURTS: Success in Case of White Collar Crime

Authored by: Taher Ibrahim

In Brief:

  1. Hadef & Partners successfully defended a criminal case despite being instructed after proceedings had commenced.

  2. The Court of First Instance initially convicted the Defendant to two months’ imprisonment.

  3. Hadef & Partners successfully appealed on the basis of lack of evidence.

Background and Judgment

Hadef & Partners successfully defended a person accused of ‘White Collar Crime’ in a criminal case brought before the Sharjah Criminal Court. After initial proceedings with alternative counsel, Hadef & Partners’ White Collar Crime team was approached by the client to defend the accused in respect of charges of forgery, breach of trust and fraud.

Our client had been accused of forging the signature of the Claimant, and embezzling monies allegedly payable to the Claimant under the terms of an alleged forged contract. The Court referred the case to an expert to examine the issues. Furthermore, the expert assessed why the Defendant signed the contact on behalf of the Claimant. The expert’s first report determined that the Defendant had forged the contract documents and embezzled the monies as asserted by the Claimant. 

Hadef & Partners was instructed at this later stage and held discussions with the expert regarding the findings in the first report. These discussions resulted in the expert issuing a supplementary report which found that it was not evident that the Defendant had taken possession of the monies, that no document had been forged and that the monies had been paid to the Claimant. The expert left it to the Court to determine whether the amount was appropriated or not.

The Court of First Instance decided to convict the Defendant to two months’ imprisonment, subject to his right to appeal the judgment. In the Court of Appeal, briefing notes were prepared by the Hadef & Partners team to outline the facts and highlight the lack of evidence in respect of the allegations of the Claimant. As a result of the defence submitted, the supporting documents and the testimony of witnesses in Court, the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of our client, cancelled the conviction and dismissed the Case.

Legal Significance

The decision in this Case is a good example of how to address the appeal process of the Criminal Court in order to review an expert report and overturn a judgement. Our use of witness testimony was also instrumental to this success.

If you would like more information on White Collar Crime and Dispute Resolution, or have any questions, please contact Taher Ibrahim, Partner, Dispute Resolution t.abrahim@hadefpartners.com and Omar Al Heloo, Partner, Dispute Resolution o.alheloo@hadefpartners.com.