Middle East

Dubai editor gets increased jail term in wife murder case

Prosecutors convince Appeal Court to raise defendants jail from 10 to 15 years

Dubai: Prosecutors won their appeal against a British editor, who will now spend 15 years in jail after an appeals court on Sunday found him guilty of the premeditated murder of his wife.

The Dubai Court of Appeal overturned the 10-year imprisonment against Francis Matthew, 62, and increased his punishment to 15 years in jail, after he was found to have premeditatedly murdered his 63-year-old compatriot wife in the couples villa in Umm Suqeim, in July 2017.

In March, the Dubai Court of First Instance had sentenced Matthew to 10 years in jail, after modifying his initial charge of premeditated murder into beating that led to death. Matthew, a former Gulf News staff, was convicted of hitting his wife with a hammer on her forehead.

On Sunday, pronouncing the appellate decision, presiding Judge Eisa Mohammad Al Sharif overturned the primary court ruling, after the bench of appellate judges deemed the case as “premeditated murder”.

According to the appellate judgement sheet, the accused decided to kill his wife “instantly” following a heated argument between them over Matthews financial situation. He did not “pre-plan or prepare” in advance to murder her, the verdict found.

The verdict sheet read that it was a “fit of instant and sudden anger” that pushed Matthew to grab the hammer, follow his wife into the bedroom and strike her on the head after she had pushed him in the kitchen and called him names, thus provoking him.

Al Sharif told Gulf News: “He did not pre-plan to murder the victim, but after she pushed him in the kitchen of their residence and insulted him, the accused decided right at that moment to kill her, grabbing the hammer and striking her on the head while she was lying on the bed. He had not pre-planned it in advance.”

The accused, who had pleaded not guilty, will be deported following the completion of his punishment.

Matthews lawyer Ali Al Shamsi is expected to appeal the appellate judgement before the Cassation Court within 30 days.

Dubai prosecutors are also expected to appeal Sundays judgement. The Court of Appeal remodified the accusation to the primary one [premeditated murder]; however, the bench of three judges handed the defendant a reduced imprisonment of 15 years instead of capital punishment or life sentence as per the Penal Codes article 98.

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