x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

British investor fires lawyers to defend his own bounced cheque case

A British investor who is appealing a seven-year sentence for three counts of issuing bad cheques dramatically dismissed his defence team in court.

DUBAI // A British investor who is appealing a seven-year sentence for three counts of issuing bad cheques dramatically dismissed his defence team in court yesterday. SQ appeared at the Dubai Court of Appeals on a charge of dishonouring a Dh179 million cheque to a Dubai-based trading company. SQ denied the charge before Presiding Judge Adnan al Farra. He said he had presented the cheque as security to an investor he represented in a property deal at The World islands project.

In a surprise move, the defendant then asked for the dismissal of his legal representation. "I would like to submit my own defence," SQ told the court. Advocate Mariam al Falasi, from law firm Hussain Lootah & Associates, told the court her firm had not been notified of any dismissal and presented her power of attorney letter to the court. "We are ready to submit our defence. We were not told by the client of his dismissal," she said.

The businessman claimed he had never seen Ms al Falasi before. "I don't know who this woman is," he said. "I do not want to be represented by this firm, they have never come to see me once." The court ruled in favour of the defendant's motion, and Judge al Farra said SQ could defend himself on the grounds of a court dismissal. In his defence, SQ said the case was filed against him maliciously. He presented contracts and documents that he said supported his claim the cheque was a security cheque used in a finalised deal.

"I am an agent. I presented the cheque to the buyer as a security cheque to transfer the amount on to my account so I could pay it to the seller," SQ said. "These documents show the money was placed in my account and transferred to the seller's account." According to SQ, the trading company filed a case against him a year after they had appropriated the land. Prosecution records show the case was filed against SQ on November 2 last year.

SQ was charged by prosecutors on January 21 and appeared in court on February 2. On May 31, the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours sentenced him to three years in prison. SQ is appealing two additional cases in which he faces a three-year and a one-year sentence issued earlier this year. The court will issue its verdict on August 16. @Email:amustafa@thenational.ae