Criminal Claims

As regards criminal claims, the claimant has the right to seek monetary damages.

The Criminal Court has the prerogative to adjudicate on both the public order aspect of the case as well as on the civil aspect, i.e. the claim for damages. (Alternatively, the Criminal Court can allocate the issue of damages to the jurisdiction of the Civil Court)

In 2008, the Supreme Criminal Court considered a case involving alleged breaking and entering into a property.

The lower criminal courts had found the defendants not guilty of any criminal wrongdoing on the basis of lack of evidence.

The claimant had also requested the lower criminal courts to order the defendants to pay RO8,000 compensation for loss suffered.

However, the lower courts ruled that since the claimants were found not guilty of any criminal offence, this automatically meant that the civil monetary claim also failed.

The Supreme Court nevertheless took a completely different view, stating that the fact the criminal case fell away does not automatically mean that the civil claims should be rejected. This judgment perhaps reflects the fact that the burden of proof in a criminal case is far higher than in a civil case.

The Supreme Court accordingly referred the case back to the Appeal Court.

SOURCE: Muscat Daily