Dubai: Dubai’s highest court on Monday overturned a British editor’s 15-year imprisonment for killing his wife and ordered a fresh trial. In October, the Dubai Appeal Court overturned the 10-year imprisonment against Francis Matthew, 62, and increased his punishment to 15 years in jail, after he was found to have premeditatedly murdered his 63-year-old compatriot wife in the couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim, in July 2017.

In March, the Court of First Instance had sentenced Matthew to 10 years in jail, after modifying the initial charge of premeditated murder into beating that led to death.

On Monday, Mathew’s lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi argued before the Dubai Cassation Court that his client did not, premeditatedly or intentionally, murder his wife but struck her with a hammer in a ‘fit of sudden anger’.

“The appellate judgement was full of contradictions and inconsistencies and the Appeal Court did not substantiate the proper evidence and reasoning on which it deemed that the defendant had intended to kill his wife. The appellant committed the crime in a fit of sudden anger. He had made enough arrangements with the victim to travel on their summer holiday to attend their son’s graduation,” lawyer Al Shamsi argued before presiding judge Abdul Aziz Abdullah.

Presiding judge Abdullah accepted the appeal of Matthew, a former Gulf News staff, overturned his 15-year jail term and referred the case back to the Appeal Court for a new panel of judges to hold a fresh trial.

In his argument before the Cassation Court in courtroom 22, lawyer Al Shamsi defended: “The appellate court deemed that my client intended to kill his wife following the heated argument between them and after she had called him a ‘loser and bad’ person. The Appeal Court decided that the defendant had intended to kill the victim because he beat her twice with a hammer. That explanation and reasoning was not sufficient to establish enough grounds that he had intended to kill her. Despite having avoided clashing with her all night long, the wife persistently provoked the defendant and kept pushing him to the extreme limit. She also pushed him twice with her hands. When he followed her to the room, he did so because he wanted to talk with her and resolve their disagreement, but she continued yelling at him and cursing and offending him to the extent that he could not withhold himself from striking her with the hammer. Clearly his intentions were to stop her from provoking him and not to kill her.”

Towards the end of his argument, Al Shamsi asked the court to dismiss prosecutors’ appeal and accept that of his client then revert the case for a fresh trial before the Appeal Court.