UAE - A Dubai-based former editor, convicted of hacking his wife to death, had his prison term increased to 15 years by a Dubai court on Sunday.
The Court of Appeals stiffened the 10-year imprisonment of the Briton, 61, after it modified the charge of assault resulting in his wife's death to premediated murder.
The British journalist was sentenced to a 10-year prison term, to be followed by deportation, on March 25 on a modified charge of assaulting his wife, 62, and causing her death. Prosecutors had initially accused him of premeditated murder.
His defence lawyer earlier called on the court to show mercy towards his client on the grounds that he did not intend or plan to kill her but was rather carried away by a moment of rage.
Defence lawyer Ali Al Shamsi of Al Shamsi and Partners, Advocates and Legal Consultants, pleaded for the Court of Appeals to decrease his client's 10-year prison sentence, based on the argument that the latter's action came as a result of a series of verbal provocations and persistently tense and unjustified, and seriously negative attitude by the victim.
In his arguments, lawyer Al Shamsi argued at the Court of Appeals that for the premeditation element to be available, the crime tool should be arranged in advance and the same goes for a plan that needs to be devised beforehand. "That all should be done away from one's losing his temper. A premeditated murder requires careful thinking, calm and patience before execution, rather than a person who was agitated and behaved madly in an instant."
Al Shamsi stressed that his client was extremely provoked by the victim's words and attitude. "A heated argument prompted him to go to the kitchen and bring a hammer. Even though the couple had been having financial problems and occasional verbal brawls over their relocation from their villa to a less expensive flat, that did not go beyond ordinary marital quarrels. They lived together for almost 30 years, which indicates they had been getting along as a couple and they would go out together later like nothing happened. The fact they had booked a flight back home for their son's graduation ceremony, and the flight was due about 20 days after the incident, clearly indicates that he had no bad intention whatsoever towards her."
Al Shamsi also referred to the court testimony of Dr Mona Al Jouhary, a forensic expert, that his client struck the victim only once, rather than twice, with the hammer.
"Her evaluation of my client is that he could not be held responsible for his action, for his mind had been severely clouded due to a culmination of enormous stress and pressure, caused by huge debts. He was deemed insane at the time he committed the crime," the lawyer told the court.
On July 4, 2017, 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.
However, the police found leads that suggested foul play. They confronted the husband with their findings and he eventually confessed to having hit his wife to death with a hammer, following a heated argument, claiming it was not intentional.
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