Fresh trial of ex-editor accused of wife's murder in Dubai begins

 khaleejtimes.com  4/17/2019 11:52:02 AM   Marie Nammour /Dubai

A fresh trial of a Dubai-based former editor, convicted of hacking his wife to death with a hammer, began at the Dubai Court of Appeals on Wednesday.

The 62-year-old British, Francis Matthew, had his 15-year prison term reversed by the Dubai Court of Cassation last December.

His defence lawyer Ali Al Shamsi of Al Shamsi and Partners, Advocates and Legal Consultants, requested during Wednesday's hearing from the Presiding Judge, Saeed bin Sirm, an adjournment to have a look at the ruling of the Court of Cassation.

The trial has now been deferred to June 12.

The top court, presided over by Judge Abdulaziz Abdullah, earlier approved a plea filed by lawyer Al Shamsi and ruled the case be sent back to the Court of Appeals so it could be re-heard by different judges.

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.

While it upheld the deportation order, the Court of Appeals stiffened the 10-year imprisonment of Matthew after it modified the charge of assault resulting in his wife's death to premeditated murder.

Al Shamsi earlier argued before the top court that the killing was not planned or intentional. "My client's relation with his wife, 63, had been good. He did not intend or plan to kill her but was rather carried away by a moment of rage."

Al Shamsi then requested that the appellate court's verdict be revoked, citing flaws and lack of evidence that the killing intention was present. "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."

The lawyer stressed that his client was extremely provoked by the victim's attitude. "She was persistent in verbally abusing and demeaning him."

The British 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.

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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