x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Hashish may have 'dropped in car by accident', UAE lawyer claims

The lawyer of a man caught with hashish in his car claims he may have been framed, or the drug may have dropped into the car 'by accident'.

ABU DHABI // A man accused of smuggling hashish into the UAE from Oman was charged only because he was dressed "like a bodybuilder", his lawyer claimed today.

Customs officers found a small dark block of what they believed to be hashish when searching the car of MS, 24, Emirati, as he drove into the UAE from Oman in a car full of friends.

But they had no proof that the block belonged to the driver, or that he knew it was there, or even that it was hashish, the man's defence lawyer told the Criminal Court.

He said the charges against the man were pressed only because of his appearance. "He was dressed in shorts and an undershirt, you know how body builders are and their style, this provoked the prosecutor," said the lawyer.

"There is no proof that the block belonged to MS, he is not the owner of the car, and many of his friends were riding with him," continued the lawyer.

"It could have dropped in the car by accident, or been placed there by someone intentionally to trap my client."

He said an officer who originally claimed to have stopped the car contradicted himself later by saying he didn't know who had stopped it.

He also took issue with the results of two drug tests the driver took, saying it made no sense that a urine sample showed traces of alcohol and drugs, but the blood sample did not.

"Traces last longer in the blood than in urine, so how come?"

He also said there was even doubt that the block was hashish, as police claimed.

"The customs officer immediately arrested the defendant without a public prosecution permit and before confirming the piece was hashish," said the lawyer. "He said only that the piece was suspected to be hashish."

Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Baseer, head of the court, replied that all officers could recognise drugs when they spot them. "And yet they wait for the lab results to be certain," he added.

The lawyer concluded by demanding his client be either acquitted or referred to rehab.

A verdict is expected on January 21.

hdajani@thenational.ae