Caught trying to sneak past Dubai Airport customs with hashish hidden in his shoes, an Afghan drug trafficker claimed he was in someone else’s shoes when he was hauled before the court. His plea: The drug-stuffed footwear wasn’t actually his as he had swapped his own warm ones with the ones of a compatriot shivering from cold just before boarding a flight to Dubai. “And you were sure his shoes would fit you just perfectly?” the judge enquired during the trial, before eventually delivering a fitting verdict last month — 10 years in prison followed by deportation.
Confronted with bite marks on the cheeks, neck and thighs of a six-year-old British girl, a Sri Lankan driver facing molestation charges attributed the bruises to a vampire game he was playing with the child. “I acted as a vampire and we were playing a game when I bit her neck, cheeks and thighs. I did not kiss or molest her,” he said in his lame defence. Obviously, it didn’t work. Early last year, the Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced him to six months in jail. Mr Count Dracula was deported after completing his prison term.
For months in 2012, an Indonesian housemaid diligently mixed her urine in a pot from which her boss and his wife poured tea. But when the woman was arrested and charged with endangering lives, she insisted that the urine-mix was actually a secret potion that would cast a spell on the family and prompt them to hike her salary.
“I hoped to win their affection... I didn’t intend to endanger their lives,” she claimed before Dubai Court of Misdemeanours which sentenced her to two months in prison.
A couple thought it was a good idea to cozy up in a lifeguard tower on Jumeriah beach. But when the Indian man and the Filipina were caught early this year and charged with having an illicit affair, the man came up with a defence plea that appears to have been lifted straight from Bollywood movie Cocktail. “I was giving her an emergency CPR (Cardiopulmonary) resuscitation because she was cold,” he claimed. However, an Emirati mum who watched the act for 50 minutes testified otherwise and the duo were sentenced to one year in jail.
A Briton who escaped from police custody at Rashid Hospital where he was being treated for injuries following a suicide bid said he didn’t intend to run away but had merely stepped out to feed his pet dog. When the court enquired about the wounds on his hands, the man said he used broken glass shards to hurt himself to “feel better” as hurting oneself was a time-honoured custom in the place he came from. Initially, the Briton was given six months in jail but last April the sentence was reduced to one month followed by deportation.
Busted for smuggling marijuana, an Emirati man blamed his Asian wife for packing the drugs in his suitcase. He told the court he had a communication barrier with his wife as they don’t speak the same language. He held her responsible for the drug traces in his blood as well, claiming they were a result of a drink she served him. However, he argued that the concoction, prepared using hemp, ginger and herbs was a health drink that could cure diseases. I learnt about its efficacy from my studies of 300 Asian cultures and religions, he added.
Ask anyone caught up on the wrong side of the law and they will tell you that the best way to handle the situation is to hire a good lawyer. But even the best lawyer can bomb if you don’t have a solid defence. This is precisely what happened when a Pakistani cabbie landed in court for stealing jewellery and electronics forgotten in his taxi by a passenger. Confronted with damning evidence, the cabbie told the court that he didn’t steal but simply kept the laptop, mobile phone, calculator, gold earrings and bracelets in his possession to overcome the global financial crisis.
People use every excuse in the book to avoid the guilty verdict. But sometimes they stretch their creativity too far. Like this Bangladeshi man and a maid caught naked in a house where the maid worked. Put on trial for sex outside wedlock they said they were husband and wife but had no marriage proof as their wedding was solemnised over the phone years back. The maid claimed her ‘husband’ was not naked but had taken his shirt off as he was feeling hot because of fever. The duo were jailed after the prosecution proved their defence was just full of hot air.
Criminals are a master at spinning a yarn. But for every clever crook, there are two dumb ones. This Indian cook who barged into a house to rape a woman falls in the second category. When the woman resisted, the cook pinned her down and tried to choke her. The quick-thinking woman then pretended to fall unconscious. The ploy worked and the potential rapist fled. But when he was charged with sexual assault, he pleaded the rape attempt was actually a harmless joke. The court didn’t find it funny and sentenced him to three years in jail followed by deportation.
As unimaginative pleas go, this one is at the top of the tree. Asked why he installed a secret camera inside a washroom used by his female flatmates, a Filipino said he wanted to observe how much water his flatmates consumed while taking showers. Needless to say, the argument didn’t wash. Bemused, the judge asked if he worked for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) before sentencing him to three months in prison.
More of the same
Cases that couldn’t make it to our list include:
The cabbie who groped a teenager, but described the act as a massage.
A peeping tom who used the ladies’ washroom claiming he had a bladder problem.
And a cleaner who rammed an air compressor into his colleague’s rectum as a joke