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25 February 2024

No 'diya' exemption even if heirs waive it: Dubai Court

By Mohammed El Sadafy

The Dubai Court of Cassation has rejected the appeal of a nurse who made a mistake at work, which led to the death of a child. She added alcohol instead of glucose to the child’s milk.

The nurse pleaded for exemption from the penalty of payment of ‘diya’ to the parents of the child because they had waived it.

The court said the reason for turning down nurse’s appeal is that diya is an original penalty and the court has to issue a judgment on diya in all cases even if the heirs or close relations of the dead person waive the diya.

The court stressed that the ruling on diya does not depend on the request of parents or heirs.

The court said if the heirs want to waive diya, they can do so after the court’s verdict and they can waive it when the verdict is executed.

Dubai Public Prosecution had charged a nurse, who specialised in caring for the newborn, with negligence which caused death of a child.

The Court of First Instance had sentenced the nurse to two years in prison and fined her Dh10,000 and obliged to pay Dh150,000 as diya to the parents of the baby, followed by deportation from UAE.

The nurse went in appeal and the Court of Appeal reduced the prison term from two years to six months, cancelled the fine and deportation but upheld the verdict on payment of diya.

The nurse went to the Court of Cassation which gave the above final verdict.

The nurse’s appeal was based on waiving of diya by the child’s parents and the involvement of the hospital’s management in the error which led to the child’s death.

The nurse said the hospital’s management was negligent because it had put toxic substances in food containers without labelling or marking in a different colour.

The court’s ruling was based on Articles 29 and 66 of the Penal Code, according to which diya compensation cannot be dropped.

The court also said that the hospital’s civil liability does not preclude conviction of the nurse whose hands made the error.