Dubai World Tribunal said it was “most regrettable” after one of its judges allegedly fell asleep for six minutes during a court hearing in May, but rejected calls for a retrial in the case, it was revealed yesterday.
Debt-plagued master developer Nakheel, the defendant in the case, claimed Michael Hwang, a member of the tribunal, had been yawning during the delivery of evidence at the earlier hearing in May and fell asleep, or was “inattentive”, for six minutes.
Following a review of CCTV footage of the hearing, Sir Anthony Evans, chairman of Dubai World Tribunal (DWT) said there had been a “breach of duty” and the incident was “most regrettable”. However, he rejected Nakheel’s application for a retrial and described their move as “mischievous” and with “no merit whatsoever”.
After heated exchanges between the tribunal and Nakheel’s legal representatives, it was agreed that no significant evidence had been presented during the six minutes in which Hwang is alleged to have been asleep.
“The content of the evidence was not significant at the time, but I do not accept that the period of inattentiveness was insignificant,” David Thomas, the barrister representing Nakheel, told the court.
Following the May 9 hearing when the incident occurred, legal firm Clifford Chance requested a video of the proceedings on May 20 and on June 3 was instructed by the board of Nakheel to demand a retrial.
The case at the centre of the drama refers to a claim by Dubai businessman Showkat Dalal, who was looking for the return of AED57m (US$15.5m) he had paid towards the purchase of three islands on ‘The World’ manmade development in Dubai.
Similar to other disputes regarding ‘The World’, Dalal claimed Nakheel’s failure to provide infrastructure, such as sewage, transport and desalination, resulted in his inability to proceed with the development of the islands was demanding the return of his sales deposit.
Nakheel counterclaimed that Dalal was contractually required to meet the rest of his repayments for the islands.
Nakheel was ordered to pay Dalal’s costs for the hearing and a final judgment in the case is expected in the coming weeks.
A spokesperson from Dubai World Tribunal declined to comment when contacted by Arabian Business.For all the latest business news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
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