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Dubai: The lawyer of a Dubai-based British journalist on trial for murdering his wife requested to reduce his sentence from 15 years to two on Wednesday, after arguing that his client assaulted his wife but didn’t intend to kill her.

Emirati lawyer Ali Al Shamsi, representing former Gulf News journalist Francis Mathew, who is accused of killing his wife with a hammer in July 2017, requested the Dubai Court of Appeal to show leniency and reduce the sentence to two years for assault that led to death, and not murder as the defendant has shown remorse.

“We proved that there was a good relationship between my client and his wife as he bought tickets for them to attend their son’s graduation in the UK. There is no criminal intention on his part in the case and he regrets what he did. We are in the year of tolerance,” Al Shamsi told the judge in the courtroom.

While Mathew was present in the courtroom on Wednesday, Al Shamsi presented his defence and handed over original documents to the judge, including documents from the family that waived their rights to keeping Mathew in jail.

Under UAE law, the family of the victim has the right not to grant leniency. Mathew’s son waived his rights and the victim’s father was the only remaining person who could have objected to an early release.

“His son waived his private rights and the victim’s father intended to waive his rights but he passed away. My client is suffering psychologically with what happened and seeks leniency,” Al Shamsi added.

In March 2018, a lower court sentenced Mathew to 10 years in jail for premeditated murder, following an assault that led to the death of his wife at the couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim.

In October 2018, the Dubai Appeal Court overturned the 10-year imprisonment against Mathew, and increased his punishment to 15 years in jail.

Later in December 2018, Dubai’s highest court overturned the British editor’s 15-year sentence and ordered a fresh trial.

However, the Appeal Court delayed the case for a verdict on November 27.

If the court reduces the sentence to two years, then Mathew has a good chance to walk free as he has served two years already.