Dubai: The defence lawyer representing a Dubai-based former editor on trial for murdering his wife on Wednesday requested a reduction of his client’s 15-year sentence.

The lawyer for Francis Matthew asked the court to consider lenient punishment against his client following the death of his father-in-law, who had refused to drop criminal charges against the British expatriate in March.

In March 2018, a lower court sentenced Matthew to ten years in jail for premeditated murder, following an assault that led to death of his wife at the couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim, in July 2017.

In October 2018, the Dubai Appeal Court overturned the 10-year imprisonment against Matthew, 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.

On Wednesday lawyer Ali Al Shamsi, representing Matthew, 62, told the Appeal Court that the private right of the victim was waived, as his client’s son waived his right to pursue the case.

“My client wanted to assault his wife not to murder her. We have a waiver from the son and due to other family reasons, we requested the court to reduce the sentence,” Al Shamsi told the judges.

The lawyer sought to have his client treated with further leniency since the victim’s father demise automatically means the family’s private right has been waived.

“My client faces the public right for his role in the criminal case as the private right has been dropped,” he added.

What does the law state

According to the law, in each criminal case there are two types of rights — private right, which is the right of the victim’s legal successors, and the public right which is that of the law.

If the legal successors of a victim drops charges and waive their private rights, the court will still have to impose a penalty, but it will be a shorter jail term.

“My client 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 into 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,” Al Shamsi told Gulf News.

Judges asked the defence to present the original document waiving the right and the case was adjourned till September 4.