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British editor renews not guilty plea in wife’s death

Lawyer to present defence argument in case of convict who struck wife’s head with hammer twice

Gulf News

Dubai: A British editor, who’s currently serving a 10-year imprisonment for beating his wife to death, renewed his not guilty plea before the Dubai Appeal Court on Sunday.

In March, the Dubai Court of First Instance jailed the 62-year-old British journalist, Francis Matthew, for 10 years after modifying his premeditated killing charge to beating which led to his wife’s death.

Matthew, a former Gulf News staff member, was convicted for beating his 63-year-old wife with a hammer twice in her forehead following a heated argument over financial issues at their villa in Umm Suqeim in July 2017.

When presiding judge Eisa Al Sharif meted out the charge of beating, which led to death against the defendant in courtroom 20, Matthew told the court: “not guilty.”

Lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi asked presiding judge Al Sharif to adjourn the case until he prepares his defence argument and to provide the court with three publications about the UAE nation that his client had coauthored and coedited.

Bur Dubai Prosecution had charged the defendant of premeditatedly murdering his wife.

Matthew had pleaded not guilty and denied having had a premeditated intent to kill the victim when he appeared before the primary court.

The convict appealed his 10-year punishment seeking to have his imprisonment reduced. Prosecutors also appealed that they are seeking to stiffen the punishment.

According to the primary judgement, the bench of judges modified the main accusation from premeditated murder to beating which led to death without having the intent to kill her.

The court was convinced that the July 4 incident was a crime of “assault which led to death” and that Matthew did not have a premeditated intention to kill the victim.

Al Shamsi argued before the primary court that the accused was gripped by a sudden fit of “intense outrage” that was triggered by relentless provocation from the victim when he killed her.

“The accusation sheet lacked any form of evidence, testimony or proof that the accused had a premeditated intention to kill his wife. He was under severe provocation and the assault happened in very few minutes. Her behaviour sent him into a state of distress and anger. He lost control over himself, his actions and couldn’t realise the consequences of what he did,” argued the lawyer in court.

Presiding judge Al Sharif adjourned the case until July 1.

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