x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

'Self-defence' led to a deadly fall

A crane operator said yesterday that he acted in self-defence when he hit a co-worker who had climbed up to confront him, causing the man to fall to his death.

ABU DHABI // A crane operator said yesterday that he acted in self-defence when he hit a co-worker who had climbed up to confront him, causing the man to fall to his death. The operator, who is Pakistani, is charged with first-degree murder. He pleaded not guilty yesterday. The construction-site dispute erupted when TM, a Sudanese supervisor, assigned an assistant to MK, the crane operator, to work on another job. That led to an argument, according to the lawyer for the crane operator.

"This caused my client to exchange a few unpleasant words with the victim over the radio," the lawyer said yesterday in the Criminal Court of First Instance. The supervisor began to climb the ladder to the operator's cab, the attorney said. "This is a restricted area that very few people on the site can access ? [the supervisor] broke every rule in going up this crane, and he was not going up to talk to him, he was clearly going to hurt him," the lawyer said. He added that there was room for only one person on top of the crane.

"It was either my client dies or the attacker does. He acted in self-defence and no one can [fault] him for that." The crane operator opened the cabin where he was sitting and hit the supervisor on the head with a metal rod, causing him to fall 45 metres to the ground. The forensics report said the supervisor died as a result of the fall. The victim's family, through a lawyer, has refused blood money and asked for the crane operator to be executed if convicted. They did ask for compensation of Dh21,000 (US$5,700).

The judge adjourned the proceedings until a hearing next Sunday. myoussef@thenational.ae hhassan@thenational.ae