x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Beach couple charged with public indecency

A Dubai-based sales manager could be jailed after she was arrested on Jumeirah beach with a holidaymaker.

The couple were caught on Jumeirah beach by a police patrol officer.
The couple were caught on Jumeirah beach by a police patrol officer.

A British sales manager caught having intercourse with a man on a public beach faces a jail term of up to six years. Michelle Palmer, who is in her 30s, and the British tourist face charges of public indecency after a police officer who had previously warned the pair about their behaviour found them having intercourse on Jumeirah beach. Ms Palmer, a sales manager for the publishing firm ITP, will face the Dubai Court of First Instance at a date yet to be set. She faces a possible prison term of up to six years and deportation. Last night, ITP said following an internal review of the incident, Ms Palmer had been dismissed from the company. The incident is said to have happened following a brunch last Friday at Le Meridien Hotel. Ms Palmer and the man - known only as "Vince" - met for the first time that day and had been drinking alcohol. Ms Palmer, who moved to Dubai three years ago, later went with the man to the beach, where they were spotted kissing by a police officer and cautioned. Later, the same officer caught the couple having intercourse. Friends said Ms Palmer, who lives in Jumeirah, allegedly shouted abuse at the officer and was arrested, taken to a police cell and charged. She has since been released on bail. The friend said reports the couple had married to get a more lenient sentence were untrue. "It is something they considered, but it did not go any further than that," said the friend. "It was just desperation, but marriage was not feasible. "She knows she has made one very big, silly mistake." Ms Palmer was quoted by the British tabloid newspaper The Sun as saying: "They're going to make an example of us and we're going to get a higher sentence. We are in so much trouble and my family and everybody are affected. Until someone is in this situation they could never know what it's like. It's bad - it's so, so bad." A British Foreign Office spokesman said: "Two British nationals were arrested in Dubai. The case is currently under investigation." The spokesman said the pair were arrested on July 5. Yesterday, the acting chief of Dubai police, Major Gen Khamis al Mazina, said public indecency among foreigners was not generally a problem. "Most Western residents and tourists who visit Dubai understand and respect the culture and this is an isolated case that does not represent the attitude or behaviour of all Westerners," he said. Simon Goldsmith, from the British Embassy in Dubai, said the embassy was offering Ms Palmer legal support. Mr Goldsmith said the embassy had no plans to modify the advice on its website. "We have got our travel advice, which is explicit," he said. A spokesman for ITP confirmed that Ms Palmer, a member of its staff, had been arrested by Dubai police for "a number of serious public order offences". * The National