Oddly Enough

Sex case delayed as police witness absent

DUBAI (Reuters) - Two Britons charged with having sex on a Dubai beach had a hearing in their case postponed on Tuesday because the policeman who caught them failed to appear in the witness stand.

Men sitting on the beach watch beach-goers in Dubai December 2, 2007. REUTERS/Steve Crisp

The Britons, who were arrested in early July, pleaded not guilty last month to charges of having sex in public and committing an indecent act in public, but have pleaded guilty to drinking alcohol without a license.

“The judge postponed the case because the policeman did not come,” their lawyer Hassan Mattar told Reuters after the Dubai court of misdemeanors postponed the hearing to October 7.

The female defendant did not attend Tuesday’s session because she was unwell, her lawyer said.

“She is sick,” Mattar said. “But it is not a problem that she is not here.”

Mattar has said that if his clients are found guilty, they could face two years in jail.

The defendants were arrested on the beach after meeting at one of the champagne brunches held in the Gulf Arab trade hub’s top hotels on Fridays.

Drinking alcohol without a license is forbidden in the United Arab Emirates, which is a Muslim country, but partygoers drink freely at weekends in the city’s bars and nightclubs.

Mattar said the woman, a Dubai resident, had an alcohol license, while the man was a visitor.

Dubai attracts many foreign workers ranging from well-paid Western executives to low-wage Asian laborers.