x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Beach couple appeal for early ruling

The couple accused of having sex on a Dubai beach have asked for their case to be speeded up, a court official says.

Vince Acors from Britain, whose female counterpart is not shown, exits the Dubai Courts, Dubai.
Vince Acors from Britain, whose female counterpart is not shown, exits the Dubai Courts, Dubai.

A judge in Dubai has adjourned for a week the trial of a British couple accused of having sex on a beach who asked for the case to be speeded up, a court official said. "The trial has been adjourned to Sept 9 so as to hear the testimony of the policeman who witnessed the incident," Mohsen Hassan said, after Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, appeared briefly before judge Hamad Abdullatif Abdulgawad. The couple admit drinking but deny the other charges. If found guilty at next week's trial, the punishment is between three months and six years in jail. The pair are both currently free on bail. Any prison sentence would be followed by deportation.

Ms Palmer, a publishing executive who has been sacked from her job, and Mr Acors, a visitor to Dubai, were accused of having sex in a public place after drinking heavily. Both defendants asked for a ruling when they appeared before the judge, speaking through an interpreter, according to the court official.

Mr Acors said he had asked for "the earliest possible hearing" on the incident, which took place while he was on a three-day visit to Dubai. Ms Palmer, dressed in a black trouser suit, avoided reporters, hiding her face with a newspaper after talking to the judge following the hearing.

At a first hearing on Aug 12, Ms Palmer denied having sexual intercourse with Mr Acors, saying they were simply "kissing and hugging", according to press reports. But a prosecution official was quoted as saying that Mr Acors admitted to having sex before changing his story. * AFP