x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Drunk driver who abused officer escapes with a fine

A woman who insulted a police major while she was under arrest for drunk driving has her jail sentence reduced to a fine by an appeals court.

DUBAI // A woman who insulted a police major while she was under arrest for drunk driving had her jail sentence reduced to a fine by an appeals court yesterday, after her lawyer quoted Confucius in her defence.

TH, 37, a Lebanese-born Canadian, was brought to the Bur Dubai police station in the early hours of January 6 and charged with drunk driving, committing public indecency and illegally consuming alcohol.

She was intoxicated, and kicking and screaming at officers, according to court records.

At earlier hearings, the woman was fined Dh25,000 by the Dubai Traffic Court for drunk driving; fined Dh2,000 for consuming alcohol but acquitted of committing public indecency; and sentenced to a month in prison for abusing a public official.

Prosecutors claimed that when the major went to see who was screaming in the police station, TH called him a dog, suggested he perform an indecent act and told him: "This will be the last day of your job", according to court records. The officer immediately filed a complaint.

TH told prosecutors that when she was initially arrested she was taken to the investigation department to provide a blood sample, and was seated with her legs raised on a chair. 

Defending herself at an earlier hearing, she claimed that when the officer saw her, he screamed at her to put her legs down. TH said she told him not to treat others like animals, and asked for his name. 

The major then flashed his identification in front of her face violently, causing her distress and fear, she said.

After hearing yesterday from TH's lawyer, Yaqoob Qasim, the appeals court reduced the prison sentence for abusing a public official to a Dh3,000 fine.

Quoting the Chinese philosopher Confucius, Mr Qasim said: "If the people are governed by laws and punishment is used to maintain order, they will try to avoid the punishment but have no sense of shame. If they are governed by virtue and rules of propriety are used to maintain order, they will have a sense of shame and will become good as well."  

Mr Qasim argued that the charge was invalid because the major had not been present in the police station in an official capacity.

"The major was standing around poking fun at the defendant and was not there for any official purpose," Mr Qasim told the court. "He harassed her and continued doing so while my client did not speak any profanities to him."  

He also argued that statements from other officers were inadmissible because they were the major's subordinates in a police establishment.

In his closing statements, Mr Qasim told the court his client should not be jailed, because she was a visitor and had no criminal convictions.

amustafa@thenational.ae