Dubai: A couple who claimed they kissed on the cheek in a restaurant while under the influence of alcohol face one month in jail and deportation.
A 24-year-old British man, who works in Dubai, and a 25-year-old woman, visiting from the UK, will appear before the Appeals Court next week, seeking acquittal or reduction of the primary judgment.
The Dubai Misdemeanours Court sentenced the Britons to one month in jail followed by deportation for kissing and touching at a restaurant in Jumeirah Beach Residence (JBR).
Do's and don'ts: UAE Public Decency Law
Presiding Judge Ebrahim Khalil Abu Shamma, who handed out the primary verdict, also fined them Dh1,000 each for consuming alcohol.
Prosecutors charged the couple with kissing and drinking alcohol, after an Emirati mother claimed her children saw the man kiss the woman on her lips around 2am in the restaurant.
When the defendants appeared in court they denied kissing on the lips and said they kissed each other on the cheek. However, they pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol.
Court records said a 38-year-old Emirati woman testified that she spotted the woman walking into the restaurant along with four men.
"My daughter told me that the accused were kissing on the mouth. Then I spotted them doing so myself. I also saw them touching each other, as they were seated two to three metres away from our table. A number of customers witnessed the scene as well," claimed the Emirati in her statement.
A forensic laboratory report showed that the defendants had 22mg/dl of alcohol in their blood.
Sources close to the case told Gulf News that the couple appealed the primary judgment.
"The couple is seeking to acquit themselves or to win a reduced punishment," said the source.
Prosecutors asked the court to implement articles 121 and 356 of the Federal Penal Law.
Article 121 stipulates that any expatriate suspect, who gets convicted for a crime related to honour or modesty [such as kissing, groping, hugging, cuddling etc…] faces compulsory deportation.
According to the same article, a court can instantly deport a suspect for a misdemeanour crime instead of imposing a jail sentence.
The verdict sheet of the primary judgment said: "The court concluded that the man kissed and touched the woman's leg and shoulder in the restaurant in JBR.
"She consented to what he did. The court deemed their behaviour as public indecency and a breach of modesty and honour.
"The man had asked the court to hear the statements of the Emirati woman's children but the court disregarded his plea because her statement was enough. Besides she had also seen the crime herself."
Presiding Judge Abu Shamma handed out a lenient punishment as per articles 99 and 100 of the Federal Penal Law.