x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Appeals court hears the case of the kissing couple

The lawyer appealing against the sentences of a British pair convicted of kissing in public argues that the woman who filed the complaint gave conflicting versions of the incident.

DUBAI // The lawyer appealing against the sentences of a British pair convicted of kissing in public yesterday argued that the woman who filed the complaint gave conflicting versions of the incident. Khalfan al Hosani told the Dubai Court of Appeals that the 38-year-old Emirati woman recounted one version to the police and another to prosecutors.

"The woman, your honour, has stated to police that she herself saw the couple kissing on the lips while she told prosecutors that her children saw the defendants acting inappropriately," he said. According to court records, the woman told prosecutors her daughter alerted her to the couple outside a Jumeirah Beach Residence cafe where the family was dining in the early hours of November 28. The pair, AN, 24, a marketing executive, and CA, 25, a tourist, were arrested after the woman informed the police.

During their trial before the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours on January 19, they pair denied committing a public sexual act, but admitted to drinking alcohol. They were each sentenced to one month in jail followed by deportation on the first charge, and also fined Dh1,000 (US$367) for consuming alcohol. Mr al Hosani yesterday maintained that his clients had only kissed on the cheek. "The kiss on the cheek is a customary greeting in their culture as it is in many other cultures, therefore that does not constitute public indecency nor a public consensual sexual act," he told the court.

The appeals court refused a request by Mr al Hosani to call six other witnesses to the stand. If the lower court's decision is upheld, the couple, who are free on bail, will begin their prison sentences immediately and then be deported. The appeals court is expected to deliver its decision on April 4. amustafa@thenational.ae