Law Governing Conspiracy for Abetment of Crimes

Urging a person to commit an illegal act or crime is as much an offence as the carrying out of such criminal offence. Federal Law Number 3 of 1987 promulgating the Penal Code (“Code”) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) mandates that any person is considered as an accomplice to a crime by causation in the following situations and the same has been mandated in Article 45 of the Code:

  1. If he abets or aids a crime which occurs in accordance with such perpetration.
  2. If a conspiracy is laid out with others in order to commit a crime and when such a crime occurs in agreement with such conspiracy.
  3. If a person grounds for another person by instigating him to carry out the crime or by handing him out the weapons or tools or any other such thing which leads to deliberately aiding such a doer of the crime or assisting him for the facilitation, preparation or completion of such a crime.

It is evident that an accomplice is to be treated as an equal to the actual perpetrator of the crime and will liable to the same punishment as the actual committer of the crime. The intention of the person found at the scene of the crime plays a vital role. If an accomplice is found at the scene of the crime with the resolve or intent to commit the crime, then such a person shall be considered as a direct accomplice in case any other person cannot be determined for the causation of such crime. It is important to define the intention of the person found at the scene of the crime, and the same has been dictated under the provisions of Article 46 of the Code. A person found at the scene of the crime shall be termed as an accomplice by causation, whereas, a person who is directly involved in the plan of the crime shall be termed as a direct accomplice. It is clearly addressed in Article 47 of the Code, that whether a person is directly involved or is an accomplice by causation, irrespective, shall be subject to the penalty of the crime caused as if he had carried out the crime himself unless the law provides otherwise. Article 48 provides that in case of lack of any criminal intent not being established due to the accomplice not being punishable or because of any other reason, then the rest of the accomplices shall not be able to benefit from it. This means that the accomplice can escape liability or punishment for the crime abetted provided it fulfils the provision of lack of establishment of criminal intent or action and where the bearing of culpability of one accomplice shall not support or waiver the liability of any other accomplices under scrutiny.

The following points revolving around the accomplices and fellow accomplices of the abetment of a crime are noteworthy of mention in pursuance to the abetment of crimes in UAE:

  1. A direct and causative accomplice, both shall be subject to a penalty of the crime that has actually been committed, even if such crime had not been intended to be committed. This implies that irrespective of the intent or knowledge behind the causation of the crime, the punishment will directly be proportional to the gravity of the crime committed.
  2. If personal excuses cause the exemption from the punishment or cause the punishment to mitigate for a direct or causative accomplice to a crime, then the same shall not extend to other accomplices of the crime.
  3. If the penalty or the nature of a crime changes in accordance with the intent of a person who has been convicted of the crime, then the other accomplices to the crime shall be punished in accordance with the intent or knowledge of the felon of the crime.

Whoever causes the abetment of a conspiracy shall be punished with temporary imprisonment. Any person participating in a criminal conspiracy whether for committing such a crime or for participating in fulfilling the purpose intended by the criminal conspiracy shall be liable to punishment, including temporary imprisonment or detention. Even an invitation for joining in on a conspiracy to commit a crime shall be punishable by detention even if the invitation has not been accepted. Any person that abets via publicity or any means of publicity others to not comply with the law of the land or incites them to cause any other act that is legally considered a crime shall be subject to punishment by detention. A penalty of imprisonment of a time period of up to one year and/or by a fine of up to AED 5000 shall be imposed on any person who by any means of public publicity supports or assists the hatred against a particular sect of people and causes disturbance of public security. The use of means of publicity for abetment of withdrawal of money deposited with any public banks or monetary funds or the selling of state securities and public stocks shall be punishable by imprisonment of up to one year.

There are abetments of crime that can also be caused at the place of work. If at least three public employees leave their place of work or abstain from performing duties of work on a mutual agreement to achieve an illicit purpose, then each of them shall be punished by detention for a period of up to a year. Such punishment shall be subject on the persons causing health or security of people to danger and causes disturbance or incitement among people. Any abettor causing disruption to such public interest shall be liable. The abetment or assistance of any manner to any other person in the committing suicide shall be punished by the detention of a period of maximum five years. Such assistance can also be when a person committing suicide is incapable of comprehension or discretion in the said activity, and the person assists such a person in committing suicide.

Originally published 25 July, 2020

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.