Murder accused was relentlessly provoked, says lawyer

Lawyer of journalist charged with premeditated murder asks court to modify charge to assault leading to death

Dubai: A British journalist was gripped by a sudden fit of “intense outrage” that was triggered by relentless provocation from his wife when he killed her, his lawyer said in court on Wednesday.


The 61-year-old British journalist, a former Gulf News staff member, had pleaded not guilty before the Dubai Court of First Instance to the accusation of intentionally killing his wife by hitting her twice on the forehead with a hammer last July.

“The accusation sheet lacked any form of evidence, testimony or proof that the suspect had a premeditated intention to kill his wife. The victim started provoking, insulting and demeaning my client the previous night … despite his attempts to avoid her all night long, the victim repeatedly provoked him. He was under severe provocation and the assault happened in very few minutes. Her behaviour sent him into a state of distress and anger. He lost control over himself, his actions and couldn’t realise the consequences of what he did,” defence lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi argued before presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi.

The 61-year-old suspect struck the victim in a fit of anger and without thinking, according to the lawyer, who maintained that his client didn’t intend to kill his wife.

“She called him a failure and a bad person and that he had to make more money … the family members testified in court that the suspect and his wife had been living a normal and loving life. They had recent financial pressures that was the point of discussion between them during the night when the incident happened. Despite having avoided clashing with her all night long, the victim persistently provoked her husband [suspect] and kept pushing him to the extreme limit … she did that all night and he kept on evading her.

“When she woke him up at 7am, she continued insulting and demeaning him, until he left her behind and went to the kitchen. Then she followed him inside and provoked him again before she pushed him from his chest. It was then and in a fit of anger when he grabbed the hammer and followed his wife wanting to stop her from insulting him. As she continued insulting, annoying and pushing him, the suspect lost it completely and struck her. He had no intention, whatsoever, to kill her,” defended Al Shamsi.

During his 15-minute verbal argument, the lawyer handed the bench of judges a written waiver obtained from the suspect’s son in which the latter pardons his father and drops his rights in the case.

The lawyer further referred to the testimonies of the suspect’s son, brother and sister in a previous hearing to reiterate that his client did not have a premeditated intention to kill the victim as the couple [suspect and his wife] had made booking arrangements to spend the summer vacation in London.

Al Shamsi handed presiding judge Al Shamsi photocopies of hotel bookings, car rental papers and air tickets to substantiate that his client had made arrangements to attend family commitments and especially his son’s college graduation.

Al Shamsi also provided the court with a medical report from a consultant doctor.

“This is a very clear case of assault leading to death. The incidents cannot and should not be deemed a premeditated murder. The defence asks the court to modify the accusation from premeditated murder to assault which led to death. We also ask the court to treat the suspect with utmost leniency,” concluded Al Shamsi.

Prosecutors had charged the British journalist of striking his wife on the forehead with a hammer twice and killing her following a heated argument over financial issues. The incident happened around 7am on July 4 at the British couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim.

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