The facade of the the Dubai Courts. For illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News File

Dubai: A British journalist, who was being tried for his wife’s premeditatedly murder, was jailed for 10 years in jail after a court convicted him of beating her to death.  

On Sunday morning, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the 61-year-old British journalist of beating his countrywoman wife to death after he struck her forehead twice with a hammer in July 2017.  

Dubai’s Bur Dubai Prosecution had earlier charged the defendant of premeditatedly murdering his wife, 63, following a heated argument over financial issues.

The incident happened around 7am on July 4 at the British couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim.

The 61-year-old editor, a former Gulf News staff member, had pleaded not guilty and denied having had a premeditated intent to kill the victim. 

“The accused will be jailed for 10 years and then he will be deported,” said presiding judge Fahd Al Shamsi as he pronounced the ruling against the defendant, who was not present in courtroom. 

Gulf News has learnt that according to the judgement sheet, the three-judge bench has modified the main accusation from premeditated murder to beating which led to death. 

The court deemed that the July 4 incident was a crime of assault which led to death, according to the judgement sheet, and that the accused did not have a premeditated intention to kill the victim. 

Defence lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi argued in court that his client was gripped by a sudden fit of “intense outrage” that was triggered by relentless provocation from his wife when he killed her. 

“The accusation sheet lacked any form of evidence, testimony or proof that the suspect had a premeditated intention to kill his wife. The victim started provoking, insulting and demeaning my client the previous night … despite his attempts to avoid her all night long, the victim repeatedly provoked him.

"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,” lawyer Al Shamsi argued in court.

According to the judgement sheet, the court deemed that the accused struck the victim in a fit of "intense anger" and without thinking and without having any prior intent to end her life. 

The available evidence, prosecution witnesses’ statements and the forensic medicine’s report confirmed that the accused, according to the judgement sheet, had intended to assault the victim and not to kill her.  

In an earlier hearing, lawyer Al Shamsi defended: “The victim called the defendant a failure and a bad person and that he had to make more money.

"The family members testified in court that the defendant and his wife had been living a normal life. They had recent financial pressures that was the point of discussion between them during the night when the incident happened.

"Despite having avoided clashing with her all night long, the victim persistently provoked her husband [accused] and kept pushing him to the extreme limit.”

The lawyer also handed the court a written waiver obtained from the defendant’s son in which the latter pardons his father and drops his rights in the case.

Al Shamsi handed the court photocopies of hotel bookings, car rental papers and air tickets to substantiate that his client had made arrangements to attend family commitments and especially his son’s college graduation during the summer vacation in London.

Sunday’s ruling remains subject to appeal within 15 days.