Dubai ex-editor convicted of wife's murder fails to show up for new trial

Dubai ex-editor, editor, British national, Dubai Court, Francis Matthew

Dubai - His defence team was supposed to file a request for his release on bail.


Marie Nammour

Published: Wed 4 Sep 2019, 1:57 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 Sep 2019, 12:26 PM

A Dubai-based former newspaper editor, convicted of hacking his wife to death with a hammer, did not show up for his trial on Wednesday. His defence team was supposed to file a request for his release on bail.
Without the appearance of the 62-year-old British national, Francis Matthew - who is in detention - the Dubai Court of Appeals adjourned the trial to October 23.
Earlier, his defence lawyer Ali Al Shamsi presented papers showing that the victim's father passed away, which means that the couple's son is now the sole heir of the woman.
Al Shamsi also noted that the son already relinquished his right to pursue the case against his father.
In December 2018, the Dubai Court of Cassation overturned Matthew's 15-year prison term and ordered a fresh trial. A new panel of judges is now hearing the case.
Al Shamsi of Al Shamsi and Partners, Advocates and Legal Consultants, then argued his client did not have any intention to kill his 63-year-old wife.

"My client's relation with his wife had been good. He did not intend or plan to kill her but was rather carried away by a moment of rage."
The lawyer told the appellate court that the case had been sent back for a new trial as the conviction verdict was found to be flawed.
"My client's action came as a result of a series of verbal provocations by the victim. He was then agitated and behaved madly in an instant. It was not planned."

What went before
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 that he fatally assaulted his wife following a heated argument, claiming it was not intentional.
On March 25 last year, the British journalist was sentenced by the Court of First Instance to a 10-year prison term, to be followed by deportation. He was found guilty of assaulting his wife and causing her death. Prosecutors had initially accused him of premeditated murder.
On October 7, 2018, the appellate court found the ex-editor guilty of hacking his wife to death, and increased his prison term from 10 to 15 years.
The Court of Appeals stiffened the imprisonment sentence after modifying the charge of assault to premeditated murder.
Then, the top court approved a plea filed by the defence lawyer and ruled that the case be sent back to the Court of Appeals to be re-heard by a different panel of judges.

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