Prosecution loses appeal against 5 visitors

The visitors who were facing charges of illegally confining a businessman and stealing Dh135,000 were acquitted

Dubai: Prosecutors have lost their appeal against five visitors, who were acquitted of illegally confining a businessman in an office for a few hours, assaulting him and stealing his Dh135,000.

The five British visitors, aged between 37 and 52, were alleged to have entered the office of a gold trader to discuss an incomplete gold deal that had taken place in Uganda in April 2016.

The Britons went to the trader’s company to collect their gold or an amount of cash equivalent to the value of the deal.

Then they made the trader call his client [the businessman], who owed him money, and asked him to visit him at his company’s office in Business Bay area.

The Dubai Court of First Instance acquitted the five Britons of confining the businessman and beating him up. They were also cleared of taking the key of his hotel room, taking the safety box and stealing Dh135,000 from it.

Prosecutors appealed the primary judgement and asked the Appeal Court to overturn the Britons’ acquittal and imprison them.

The Appeal Court presiding judge, Saeed Salem Bin Sarm, rejected prosecutors’ appeal and upheld the suspects’ acquittal due to lack of corroborated and substantiated evidence.

Advocate Ma’asoumah Al Sayegh of Dar Al Balagh Advocates and Legal Consultants, who defended two of the men, argued in court that the businessman [so-called victim] in this case is himself a swindler. “He gave an inconsistent and fabricated statement. He is currently detained for involving in a swindling and deception case. Actually, he did not even call the police and complain that he was confined and robbed … he knew that had he complained to the police, his deceptive and swindling methods would have been exposed,” argued Al Sayegh.

In his statement before prosecutors, the businessman alleged that he did not know the suspects, said the lawyer.

“Documents that we provided to the court clearly show that his name and contact details were given as a reference as part of the aforementioned gold deal. He and the gold trader knew the suspects very well and have done business together. Actually, my clients are the real victims in this case and they should not have been listed as suspects … the real culprits in this case are the gold trader and the businessman, who had tried to cheat the five suspects and embezzle their money. This whole kidnap and theft case was fabricated and based on unfounded claims. Besides, he claimed that he was confined and not allowed to leave the office, while the CCTV footage clearly showed him seated, drinking juice and his phones were in front of him. The footage clearly exposes that the trader and the businessman had lied,” defended Al Sayegh before the appeal court.

The businessman alleged that the incident happened after the trader called him over the phone and asked him to come over to discuss his debt.

“I entered the office at 7pm. I was surprised to see the five men who assaulted and threatened me … they took the key of my safety box by force. Two of them went and brought it. They made me open it and they stole my cash,” he alleged.

A police lieutenant said the hotel’s [where the businessman had stayed] management reported to the police that a stranger had entered the guest’s room and taken away the safety box.

Advocate Al Sayegh refuted the businessman’s statement, which she described as “baseless and unfounded”, and asked the court to acquit the suspects.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.


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