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Mon 5 Sep 2011 11:23 AM

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UK doctor fails to attend Dubai road rage trial

London surgeon likely to receive guilty verdict after failing to attend court three times

UK doctor fails to attend Dubai road rage trial
Making offensive hand gestures is illegal in the UAE and can lead to a jail term

A London
surgeon detained in Dubai for allegedly making a rude gesture to another driver
has failed to show up for his scheduled court hearing for a third time, his
lawyer said Monday.

Dr
Joseph Nunoo-Mensah, a colorectal surgeon at King's College Hospital in London,
was due in court on Monday but failed to appear, a decision that could see him
face an automatic guilty verdict.

The
final verdict is expected to be heard on 12 September, said Abdulla Al
Mudharreb, a lawyer with Al Mudharreb Advocates & Legal Consultants.

“Today
there was a hearing and the accused didn’t appear - he is still in the UK. In
criminal cases he must appear at every hearing and now this is the third
hearing he didn’t appear,” he told Arabian Business.

“In 99
percent of criminal cases if the accused doesn’t appear – even if he was
innocent – the judgment will come against him. I told him [he will be
apprehended by the police if he returns] but he is afraid. He feels scared and said
‘I’m not coming back’.”

Dr
Nunoo-Mensah claimed he was returning to Dubai in April when he was tailgated
by a car flashing its lights. The stretch of road had a 60kph speed limit as
roadworks were ongoing, and was single-lane which prevented him moving out of
the way, he said.

Dr Nunoo-Mensah had his passport seized the following day after
he was accused of gesturing at the motorist after a brief altercation.

Making
offensive hand gestures is illegal in the UAE and can lead to a jail term.

The doctor was allowed to return to the UK after a friend
gave their passport as surety. Should he fail to return, his friend will be
held responsible and will likely face a fine, said Al Mudharreb.

Speaking
in May, the lawyer said he was confident the doctor would be found innocent as
there was little evidence against him.

“It
happened at 7:30pm at a dark time, there are no witnesses and he was in the car
with the windows up. I think he is in a good situation and as a lawyer it is a
very simple case,” he said.

Dr
Nunoo-Mensah told BBC Radio Manchester he had been forced to return home to
support his family.  “I have got a family to support, I've got patients to
look after and effectively they were depriving me of my right to a living and
function. So for me to be in Dubai for another two months doing nothing was
completely meaningless and pointless," he said.

sonnydubai 8 years ago

I don't blame him for not coming back! Surely the court's time shouldn't be wasted on trivial matters like this?

Girish 8 years ago

Why do people become short tempered for very minute causes. Every one makes mistake. Ability to forgive others mistake is greatness than fighting. We all are small creatures in the world and GOD is only great......who punishes and bless people.

Jonnie Millar 8 years ago

While there are UAE laws against issuing either verbal or non-verbal insults; the way the 'offence' is dealt with needs reform. Had this man not been locked up initially and been simply dealt with by the recording officer at the time, then it is far less likely that he would have such a negative view of the UAE and would definitely not be broadcasting the details.

This is no longer an issue about a tourist insulting an Emirati. It's playing on a much larger stage and affecting the perception of this fine country and its citizens.

I don't believe the UAE can continue its; "If you don't like it - go home" attitude in these austere times. It needs every investor and tourist it can attract and stories like these will dissuade even the most adventurous of folk.

gordon 8 years ago

That is a rather selfish attitude.

He promised he would come back. Now he says his patients and family are more important.

Does he mean more important than his friend who vouched for him, more important than all the others in future that will be denied bail because of his actions.

If he was man enough he would come here and fight the case, if found guilty either appeal or take the punishment…or am I missing something

gordon 8 years ago

you are right, the punishment and costs far outweigh this time of crime/misdemeaner.

Perhaps an on the spot fine and the chance to appeal.

salim shaikh 8 years ago

I like the way the lawyer says " there is no evidence, no witness so the Dr can easily get off" Does that mean the Dr is supposed to come and lie to the court? that, he was in fact throwing flying kisses to the guy who was tail gating him? I think before mentioning that hand gesturing is punishable with a jail term they should simultaneously mention that tail gating a serious offense and can cause a serious accident and loss of life and is also punishable with a jail term besides tail gating is more typical in the Gulf and the one complaining of hand gesturing in response to tail gating should be in more serious trouble in the courts then the Dr.

Telcoguy 8 years ago

Do you have any evidence beyond the witness?
what has been reported is just one man word (a tailgater) against another (the victim of tailgating)
Based on that how can you be so sure the guy is guilty?
I am certainly glad I do not drive here, I do not fancy the idea of having my life disrupted based on accusations with no evidence, specially by a guy who has been endangering me 2 minutes before and who will walk out with not even a reprimand.

Bre 8 years ago

If the doctor was accused of showing the finger, then should the doctor not accuse the tailgater for putting his life in danger, I think it should work both ways. After all, it’s way more dangerous tailgating than showing the finger, wouldn’t you say?

Brit in Dubai 8 years ago

I really hope the courts see sense and drop the case.

Do they really think it is going to do Dubai's international reputation any good by putting people's lives at risk in the UK so they can jail a doctor over something as minor as flipping a finger – something he probably didn't even do?

How do you think the international media would see that? If he'd murdered someone, then yes, I could understand – but for allegedly sticking a finger up at someone? They'd have a field-day, and it would be another nail in Dubai's coffin.

charles 8 years ago

yes gordon, you are missing the fact that it was not YOU.
If it was, I seriously doubt you would be so moral in reality, as you are commenting in hindsight on a website.