Footballer’s appeal dropped after he misses trial

Defendant was challenging jail term he was handed for having consensual sex with woman in hotel

Dubai: The appeal of a renowned footballer, who was sentenced to a year in jail for having sex with a woman at a luxury hotel, was dropped after he missed his trial.

In December, the Dubai Court of First Instance convicted the Emirati footballer of having consensual sex with the 36-year-old Lebanese woman who had claimed that she was raped after a dinner invite in Palm Jumeirah in March 2017.

The primary court modified the rape charge to consensual sex after he pleaded not guilty and denied raping the Lebanese woman friend after dinner.

The footballer appealed the one-year imprisonment before the Appeal Court and sought to have a reduced punishment.

On Wednesday, presiding judge Dr Ahmad Al Mutawa dropped the defendant’s appeal after he failed to attend his hearing.

As per the Criminal Procedures Law, a defendant, who is handed imprisonment by a primary court, is obligated to be present before an Appeal Court. If the appellant fails to show up before the Appeal Court, then his or her appeal would be dropped.

The footballer’s lawyer had argued that the woman’s allegations were absolutely not factual.

“Her police statement clearly contradicted her statement before prosecutors. She twisted all facts and even lied about what had actually happened during the incident … she was not raped but they had consensual sex,” the lawyer contended in court.

As per the same law, the defendant should have been present before the Appeal Court during the first hearing.

However, his appeal was dropped after he missed the trial for unclear reasons.

The Lebanese had claimed that the defendant booked two separate rooms at the hotel, but check-in records proved that only one room had been booked, said the lawyer.

“She allegedly told police that on the night when the incident happened, she wore a sleeping dress … but when she testified in court, she contradicted herself and said she wore a swimsuit. The woman also alleged earlier that my client had consumed alcohol with her. But the suspect’s results came negative when he was tested for alcohol.

“She had willingly agreed to spend the night with him in the same room. The forensic examination report disproved her claim that the suspect had used physical violence with her as there were no bruises or injuries on her body,” Al Shamsi told the court.

The defendant’s friend testified in court that the Lebanese tried to blackmail the footballer and asked him for Dh250,000 to waive her complaint.

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