x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Motorist who made obscene gesture gets suspended six months in prison

A man who made an obscene gesture to two undercover police officers received a suspended sentence of six months, but he will not have to serve prison time unless he commits the crime again, a court decided.

DUBAI // A flight engineer who made an obscene gesture to two undercover policemen has received a suspended sentence of six months in prison, a court decided today.

The suspended sentence means he will not have to serve any prison time unless he commits the same crime within three years.

DM, 59, of France, entered Al Khail Road in front of the policemen's vehicle without ensuring the road's safety at nearly 8am on the day of the incident, court records show.

When the policemen overtook his vehicle from the left side, showed him an official ID, and asked him to pull over, he flagged his middle finger at them.

DM's defence lawyer argued that the policemen likely could not see the gesture at that early hour while both vehicles were travelling at more than 120kph.

Hussain Al Jaziri also said his client did not know the men were police officers, and that he was focusing on the road in fear of causing an accident.

"They were not in uniform that he could know they were policemen," the lawyer told the Dubai Court of Misdemeanours. "What is not logical is that French people are known for making an obscene gesture by putting their hand on their arm, not flagging the middle finger to others, which is an Anglo-Saxon habit."

The policemen wrote down DM's licence plate number and headed to the nearest police station, where they lodged a complaint against him.

AM, a 24-year-old Emirati policeman, testified that DM had waved at them in a gesture that meant, "What do you want", before giving them the finger.

DM told prosecutors that the men flashed the lights of their pickup after he took the left lane coming from an exit.

"I ignored that but they came next to me from the left side," he added. "I didn't know what was the ID they showed and I didn't stop because I was afraid."

DM also told prosecutors that the men chased him even after he waved at them.

"Maybe they thought it was a rude gesture but it never happened," he told the court.

The other Emirati policeman, 23, confirmed his colleague's story.

salamir@thenational.ae