Journalist’s family to be heard as defence witnesses

Expat’s lawyer refrains from questioning deputy forensic examiner who wasn’t involved in autopsy

Dubai: The lawyer of a British journalist, who is accused of premeditatedly killing his wife in July, told a court on Sunday that his client’s family will be his defence witnesses next hearing.

The journalist, Francis Mathew, 61, a former Gulf News staff member, refuted the accusation of intentionally killing his wife by hitting her twice on the forehead with a hammer when he pleaded not guilty in an earlier hearing before the Dubai Court of First Instance.

The court was scheduled to hear Dubai Police’s forensic examiner, who had issued the victim’s forensic examination report, before it was later decided to hear the statement of his deputy since the main examiner resigned.

The deputy forensic examiner showed up before presiding judge Arafa Mohammad and told the court that he was present during the autopsy and forensic examination but he was not involved in carrying out the autopsy personally.

Mathew’s lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi thereafter told the court that he had asked to hear the statement of the deputy forensic examiner thinking that he had been involved or assisted the main examiner in the victim’s autopsy.

“The defence does not have any questions to ask the examiner. We thought he had been involved in carrying out the autopsy and had a few questions regarding the incident,” lawyer Al Shamsi told presiding judge Mohammad.

When asked about his demands, lawyer Al Shamsi told the court that he will summon the suspect’s family to testify in the upcoming hearing.

“My client’s family are in Britain. We will summon them to hear their statements in their capacity as defence witnesses,” said Al Shamsi hinting that the family will be testifying that his client didn’t have any premeditated intentions to kill his wife.

Responding to the presiding judge’s questions, the deputy forensic examiner said: “The cause of the death was a hit on the forehead that led to a fractured skull, internal bleeding in the brain and a trauma.”

According to the accusation sheet, prosecutors charged Mathew of striking his wife on the forehead with a hammer twice and killing her following a heated argument over financial issues.

The incident happened around 7am on July 4 at the British couple’s villa in Umm Suqeim.

The court reconvenes on February 14.

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