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Defendant makes scene in court on learning he will remain in custody.

Summary: Transit passenger who assaulted policeman tells court during retrial that he needed to join family soon

Bassam Za'za', Legal and Court Correspondent

Dubai: A transit passenger, who's standing a retrial for allegedly assaulting a policeman, created a scene in the courtroom on Tuesday once he learnt that he will remain in custody during holidays.

In October, the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced the 53-year-old Australian passenger in absentia to three months in jail for beating a policeman, who tried to handcuff him after he refused to have his luggage searched.

The Australian passenger was flying via Dubai and was offered a hotel stay after a technical glitch forced the international carrier with whom he was flying to Sydney to delay the trip for a day in July.

"I have to go home - I have to go to my family. I was told that the case was written off in July 23 and I had paid a huge fine. I have been in custody for 12 days for an incident that happened in July. I was deplaned from a transit flight. The policeman had pardoned me - I need to be with my family," said the Australian defendant as he entered his plea before presiding judge Mohammad Jamal.

When presiding judge Jamal asked the court translator to reread the accusation of assaulting the policeman, the 53-year-old defendant, who was standing a retrial having been sentenced in absentia, contended: "It happened by mistake - he pushed me and we both fell but he pardoned me."

The defendant repeatedly told the presiding judge Jamal that he had already paid a fine for the case and the policeman pardoned, obviously, not realising that he is standing a retrial as per the Criminal Procedures Law [having been sentenced in absentia].

"The court will hand out its ruling on January 28 and the defendant will remain in custody," announced presiding judge Jamal.

"What! No! Please no - I have to be with my family soon. No please your honour. January 28! No please," the defendant was heard repeatedly as saying in an tense and choked voice as jail wardens tried to calm him down and take him back into confinement.

"I have finished the case. There is an administrative error," said the defendant, who is believed to have made a scene in court as he was expecting to finalise the case and join his family over Christmas and New Year holidays.

Having been deplaned after four hours of waiting on board the carrier that was supposed to take off at 8.30am in July, the Australian and other passengers were provided with a hotel stay near Dubai International Airport, said records.

When asked by inspectors to have his luggage searched, the defendant turned rowdy and refused to place his luggage in the scanning machine.

After failing to talk him into having his luggage searched, customs inspectors called up policemen present at the airport.

As the policeman tried to convince the passenger to have his luggage searched, the defendant angrily refused and said that he had been on a long flight.

When a police lieutenant tried to handcuff the 53-year-old to take him to questioning, the latter grabbed the policeman by his shirt and they both fell down and the policeman sustained injuries on his knee and ankle.

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Date:Dec 19, 2017
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