courts

Briton jailed for three year for stealing a wristwatch

The 29-year-old British visitor was accused entering his countryman’s hotel room and stealing his wristwatch and passport

12:33 December 7, 2017

Dubai: A visitor, who forced his way into a manager’s hotel room and stole his wristwatch worth Dh36,000 and passport, lost his appeal and will spend three years in jail.

The 29-year-old British visitor entered his countryman manager’s hotel room against his will and stole his wristwatch and British passport in collaboration with another suspect, who remains at large, in 2016.

The absconder had entered the manager’s hotel room in Dubai Marina area wanting to check out the watch to buy it.

The Dubai Court of First Instance had convicted the Briton of stealing and trespassing into the victim’s hotel room.

The defendant appealed his primary sentence before the Appeal Court and pleaded not guilty.

“I was too drunk and with a friend when he allowed us into his room. He was also drunk when he complained to the police. I am not guilty,” the Briton argued before the appellate court when he defended himself.

The presiding judge dismissed the defendant’s appeal and upheld his three-year punishment.

He will be deported after serving his jail term, according to the appellate judgement.

The victim lodged against the defendant a civil lawsuit seeking Dh21,000 in temporary compensation against his moral and financial damages.

The manager said the incident happened shortly after he decided to sell his Rolex watch for Dh36,000.

“A Britain-based friend of mine told me over the phone that a friend [the absconding suspect] of his colleague might be interested in checking the watch. He provided me with his contact number … I agreed to meet him at the hotel’s lobby. When he arrived, he asked me to if we could go up to my room to examine the watch. We went up. I sat on the sofa and asked him to take a seat … but surprisingly, he didn’t sit and instead ran towards the door and opened it. Then the accused came in. The latter spoke to me loudly and in an angry tone. He ordered me to give him the watch and so I did … then he asked me to open the safe and so I did. He took my passport and then, before they left, the accused said I should pay them Dh300,000 to return my passport. Then he sprayed some white powder on the table and challenged me to call the police … before they left. The accused told me that I would be in trouble because of that white powder if I dared to call the police,” the manager testified.

Records said the victim reported the matter to the police and hotel’s security.

A police corporal said the defendant was identified from the rented car’s number plate that came up on the hotel’s surveillance cameras.

“We summoned the accused to the police station, where he denied stealing the watch or the passport. He identified the absconding suspect as H.,” said the corporal.

The appellate ruling remains subject to appeal before the Cassation Court.