Dubai: A lawyer has argued that his client used a figurative expression when he told an etisalat employee to f*** off and did not insult him, in another sign of how cultural differences can lead to a big misunderstanding.

“My client is a Canadian citizen and f*** off is not an insult in Canada… but f*** you is a curse and an insult. F*** off is commonly used when a person expresses themselves metaphorically and asks another person, who angered them, to walk away,” said Uday Al Kazwini of Dar Al Balagh Advocates and Legal Consultants, when he defended his client, a 43-year-old Canadian director before the Dubai Misdemeanour Court.

The director pleaded not guilty to insulting an Egyptian client services employee, who works at an etisalat counter in Mirdif.

Al Kazwini said the term f*** off is commonly used during tense moments but doesn’t have to be considered an insult.

“The Egyptian claimant alleged that my client told him f*** you. Well f*** you is a curse but my client did not use that term. The defendant admitted to prosecutors that he said f*** off and he meant to ask the claimant to leave him alone and walk away after the two indulged in a heated argument,” said Al Kazwini.

Prosecutors accused the 43-year-old of insulting the 29-year-old claimant and asked for the implementation of the toughest punishment applicable.

In his complaint to the police, the claimant alleged the defendant walked up to the etisalat counter at Mirdif City Centre and used foul language against him.

Meanwhile he testified before prosecutors: “When I attended his complaint pertaining to one of our services and told him that there had been a delay, he got angry. When he called me useless, I thanked him… then he told me f*** you twice and told me to shut my mouth. I walked out of the counter towards him wanting to calm him down… but my colleagues stopped me and the situation was restrained immediately. Then I complained to the police,” said the Egyptian. When he showed up in court, the Canadian contended that he did not have any criminal intention when he used the expression.

Al Kazwini and his counterpart Ma’asoumah Al Sayegh asked presiding judge Adel Abdul Fattah to summon the prosecution witnesses to hear their statements when the court reconvenes on Thursday.

An Emirati engineer confirmed his Egyptian colleague’s statement.

Meanwhile the defendant testified before prosecutors the incident happened when he went to check why he wasn’t receiving his bills.

“The claimant treated me with disrespect and behaved with me in an inappropriate and unacceptable manner. He threw the token number in my face and asked me to wait. He got angry when I asked him to check his records because it was the fourth time I had visited the counter to check on that ongoing problem. I told him f*** off and not f*** you,” said the defendant.