The former editor had his 15-year prison term reversed by the Dubai Court of Cassation.
The defence lawyer of a Dubai-based former editor, convicted of hacking his wife to death with a hammer, told the Court of Appeals on Wednesday that the victim’s father passed away and that her son Is now the sole heir. He told the court that the son has already relinquished his right to pursue the case against his father.
The fresh trial is heard by a new panel of judges other than that the one that had stiffened the penalty from 10 to 15-year imprisonment.
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 from the Presiding Judge to show leniency towards his client stressing on the fact that he did not have any intention to kill his wife, 63.
Al Shamsi argued again that the killing was not planned or intentional. “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.”
Al Shamsi 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.”
The top court earlier approved a plea filed by lawyer Al Shamsi and ruled the case be sent back to the Court of Appeals to 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.
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.
The next hearing is set for September 4 when the lawyer will present original necessary documents (waiver from son and death certificate of the victim’s father).
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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