A UAE court orders a man to pay 5,000 dirhams in compensation for a message on "WhatsApp"

A young Gulf man faced legal consequences in Ras Al Khaimah as his cursing and offensive messages sent to his brother via WhatsApp led to his prosecution.

Legal Consequences of Offensive Messages

The Misdemeanor Court of Appeal upheld the initial ruling convicting the accused of insulting his brother through electronic means, specifically WhatsApp. The court deemed the messages damaging to the victim's reputation and dignity.

Compensation for Moral Damage

The Ras Al Khaimah Civil Court of First Instance, in its ruling, mandated that the defendant compensate the plaintiff with 5,000 dirhams for the moral damage incurred. This decision was rooted in the plaintiff's claims of humiliation and harm to his dignity within family and community circles due to the offensive messages. Additionally, the court required the defendant to cover the legal expenses, fees, and attorney's costs.

Plaintiff's Demand for Additional Compensation

The plaintiff requested a higher award of 15,000 dirhams in retaliation for the physical and moral harm he had experienced. In order to receive compensation for the emotional distress the offensive messages caused, he emphasized the real impact on his reputation and social standing.

Legal Ruling and Defendant's Admission

The civil court emphasized the authoritative nature of the final criminal ruling against the defendant, who admitted sending insulting messages. This admission established the defendant's liability for tort, including proven mistakes leading to moral damage and a causal relationship between the defendant's actions and the harm suffered by the plaintiff.

Evaluation of Compensation

The court, tasked with estimating the compensation, acknowledged the defendant's conviction for insulting words and making humiliating accusations. It came to the conclusion that the plaintiff had clearly suffered moral harm as a direct result of the defendant's actions. The court ruled to oblige the defendant to pay 5,000 dirhams as compensation for the proven moral damage.

Distinction between Material and Moral Compensation

Addressing the distinction between material and moral compensation, the court clarified that material damage must be proven with certainty and relate to future losses, expenses, or incurred losses. As the burden of proof rested on the plaintiff, the court ruled to obligate the defendant to pay 5,000 dirhams specifically for the proven moral damage, covering associated fees and expenses, while rejecting additional claims.

This legal verdict underscores the accountability for digital offenses and the legal repercussions for actions causing harm to an individual's reputation and well-being. The court's decision aligns with the principles of justice and redress, emphasizing the need for responsible communication even in digital interactions.

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