x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

UK inquest into Briton's Dubai jail death 'may be reopened'

It is not yet clear if fresh evidence delivered by Dubai's authorities is sufficient for the case to be reopened.

DUBAI // A UK coroner's inquest into the death of Lee Brown in a UAE prison cell could potentially be reopened after fresh evidence was delivered by Dubai's authorities.

Brown, 39, from London, died under suspicious circumstances in Bur Dubai prison on April 12, 2011, after he was arrested on April 6 for assaulting a chamber maid at the Burj Al Arab.

An inquest into his death, which was opened in May last year at Waltham Forest Coroner's Court in north-east London, has been on hold while awaiting further evidence. The family claims to have accounts from other prisoners that Brown died from wounds he had received after allegedly being beaten by police officers.

However, a post-mortem from Dubai claimed that Brown, from London, died after choking on his own vomit.

A 200-page report from Dubai Public Prosecution arrived at the court in March, and has since been translated from Arabic into English.

Kat Craig, a solicitor for the Brown family, said that it was not yet clear whether the evidence was sufficient for the case to be reopened.

"The coroner can decide whether he has sufficient information," she said. "These documents could disclose further information, which could give rise to further questions.

"We believe there is likely to still be huge gaps in the evidence."

The family have also requested CCTV footage from the prison as evidence, as well as witness statements from other prisoners and tapes of interrogations.

Ms Craig said she had not seen the evidence so could not tell whether the tapes had been included.

Susanne Brown, the sister-in-law of Brown, said the family were desperately seeking closure.

"We've been told that it will take a long time," she said. "But we are determined that the truth will eventually come out, no matter how long it takes."

The clerk in charge of the case at Waltham Forest coroners court could not be reached for comment.

mcroucher@thenational.ae