x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Dubai beach couple fighting deportation

The lawyer for two Britons who were recently spared jail after being convicted of having illicit relations on a public beach said his clients may stay in Dubai.

DUBAI // The lawyer for two Britons who were recently spared jail after being convicted of having illicit relations on a public beach said his clients may stay in Dubai as he tries to have their deportation order lifted. Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, were convicted of committing a scandalous public act and consuming alcohol in public. Judges are required by law to order the deportation of any person convicted of committing a scandalous public act. "We might be filing a petition to have the deportation order lifted," said Hassan Matter, who acted for the couple. "There is a committee that looks into such matters. If we file a petition they may not have to leave."

The law courts will not reopen until Dec 14. That would be the earliest date on which a petition could be filed. If Palmer and Acors are successful and the deportation is overturned, they would be free to enter the country for business or personal reasons. If deported, they would be unable to return for up to three years. Acts such as an amorous public kiss between a man and a woman, or a rude gesture from an irate driver, are also categorised as scandalous public acts and would warrant a mandatory deportation.

The two Britons were arrested in the early hours of July 5 at a beach near the Burj al Arab hotel in Jumeirah. They were heavily intoxicated, according to police, having spent the previous day at a champagne brunch. The Dubai Court of Misdemeanours court sentenced them each to three months in jail. They were also each fined Dh1,000 and ordered to be deported after serving their sentences. The Dubai Appeal Court, while upholding the convictions, suspended the jail terms for three years but left the fines and deportation order in place.

hbathish@thenational.ae