20200918 Dubai Courts
Dubai Courts. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A man who was convicted for sexually assaulting a ten-year-old girl is waiting for his appeal verdict after a witness changed his testimony.

According to Dubai Courts, the 56-year-old defendant was initially sentenced to six months in jail, to be followed by deportation.

Prosecutors said he assaulted the girl inside a soundproof room of an acting studio on Sheikh Zayed Road, where she was taking acting lessons. The defendant denied the charge before police, prosecution and court. He claimed that he was framed by the child’s mother after she attempted to have an affair with him, which he turned down.

What led to initial conviction?

Co-workers who were questioned by the police said the alleged incident never happened. They told the investigators that the girl did not come to the acting and dancing studio on the day of the alleged incident. 
However, only one co-worker testified otherwise, which led to the man’s conviction by Dubai Courts.

Later on, the co-worker changed his testimony and told the Appeals Court judges that he was forced to say that he had seen the defendant put the girl on his lap on the day of the alleged incident. He told the judges that the girls’ parents had threatened him. “They threatened to get me deported and said they were well-connected and knew people in power,” the witness told the judges.

He said he felt guilty after hearing the sentencing of his former colleague. “I felt like I had contributed to destroying his life. Therefore, I decided to tell the truth,” he told the judges.

‘Story fabricated by girl’s mother’

Lawyer Awatif Mohammed, representing the defendant, told the judges that the case was malicious and lacked tangible evidence. She told the court that all of her client’s co-workers testified that the girl had stopped coming to the studio a month before the alleged incident.

“The story was fabricated by the girl’s mother because he [the defendant] turned down her attempts to be romantically involved with him,” said Mohammed said.

Read more

The lawyer provided the court with copies of provocative pictures of the child’s mother, which she had earlier sent to the defendant on WhatsApp. “The father reported the incident to police more than four months after the girl allegedly told him about the incident,” Mohammed added.

A verdict is expected later this month from the Appeals Court.