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Jail term of Dubai ex-editor convicted of wife's murder reduced to 7 years

Filed on November 28, 2019 | Last updated on November 28, 2019 at 06.08 am
Dubai, editor, Francis Matthew

(Photo: Alamy)

The jail term was reduced from 15 years to seven years by the court.

The jail term of a Dubai- based former editor, convicted of hacking his 63-year-old wife to death with a hammer, was reduced from 15 years to seven years by the Dubai Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

It is the second time the court ruled in the case of 62-year-old British journalist Francis Matthew as it held a fresh trial by a new panel of judges, other than the one that had stiffened the penalty from 10 to 15 -year imprisonment on October 7, 2018, after it modified the charge of assault resulting in his wife's death to premeditated murder. The appellate court upheld the deportation order.

The new ruling may be challenged by both the defendant and the public prosecution at the Dubai Court of Cassation.

Matthew had his 15-year prison term reversed by the Dubai Court of Cassation last December. The top court had then referred the case back to the Court of Appeals for a re-trial by different judges.

Ali Al Shamsi, the defense lawyer of Matthew, earlier solicited the court to grant mercy.

The Briton, who is in detention, had been convicted of hacking his wife Jane to death with a hammer.

Al Shamsi earlier argued in court that his client has been feeling a great amount of remorse. "His act happened in a moment of rage. It was a mere result of verbal provocation rather than a deliberate act to hurt his wife. The whole thing has been tormenting him. He lost her (the victim), it affected the entire family and its stability and it cost him his career as well."

The lawyer then requested the presiding judge to be lenient towards his client and reduce his jail sentence to two years since 2019 was declared Year of Tolerance.

Earlier, Al Shamsi presented papers showing that the victim's father passed away and that her son already relinquished his right to pursue the case against his father.

The lawyer told the court that the son is now the sole heir of the victim after his father's death.

He requested then from the Presiding Judge to exert leniency towards his client stressing on the fact that he did not have any intention to kill his wife.

The journalist, a former editor of a local newspaper, was sentenced by the Court of First Instance to a 10-year prison term, to be followed by deportation, on March 25, last year, on a modified charge of assaulting his wife and causing her death. Prosecutors had initially accused him of premeditated murder.

The case dates back to July 4, 2017, when the former editor called the police to report that his wife was killed by thieves who had broken into his villa in Umm Suqeim 1 while he was away.

The husband eventually confessed to the police that he fatally assaulted his wife, following a heated argument, claiming it was not intentional.

Murder case timeline

>July 4, 2017: Francis Matthew called the Dubai Police saying his wife was killed by thieves who had broken into the house. He later confessed to the police that he fatally assaulted his wife with a hammer.

>March 25, 2018: The Court of First Instance sentenced the journalist to a 10-year prison term to be followed by deportation on a modified charge of assaulting his wife and causing her death. The Dubai public prosecution initially accused him of premeditated murder.

>October 7, 2018: Court of Appeals stiffened Matthew's penalty from 10 to 15 years in jail, plus deportation. It modified the charge of assault resulting in his wife's death to premeditated murder.

>December 17, 2018: Dubai highest court reversed the former editor's 15-year jail term on a murder charge and ordered a fresh trial at the appellate court.

>June 12, 2019: Matthew's lawyer told the Court of Appeals that the victim's father passed away and that the couple's son is now the sole heir. He added that the son has already relinquished his right to pursue the case against his father.

>November 27, 2019: The Court of Appeals sentenced Matthew to seven years in jail and deportation on a premeditated murder charge.

mary@khaleejtimes.com

 

 

Marie Nammour

Originally from Lebanon, Marie has been covering the Dubai Courts and the Public Prosecution, immigration and labour issues often, and the Dubai International Film Festival. A graduate from the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik, Jounieh, a city to the north of Beirut, she worked as an in-house reporter of international affairs at a leading TV station back home and a legal translator for a renowned law academy in the Lebanese capital. Speaks fluently four languages and is fond of travelling, psychology, learning more, and has grown by now a rich ‘criminal’ imagination...


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