Justice?

Posted on November 28, 2008

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Two murders. One in Dubai, UAE and the other in Lowestoft, UK. Both of these men committed murder by running over their victims in a 4x4s. One man was jailed for life which means at the very minimum he will serve 21 years in jail,  the other man got 10 years and his car confiscated.

Now you would think the UAE with its harsher legal system would be the one dishing out the life sentance. You’d be wrong. Lets look at both cases:

The Dubai case involved a ‘young Emirati businessman’ named Omair Al Thani, no prizes for guessing that he’s not exactly scraping around the bottom of the UAE pecking order with a name like that. One night back in May this year he was inconventiently kept waiting for a little longer than he would like in a queue of cars outside the Aviation Club in Garhoud. Poor Mr Al Thani, sitting in his Hummer, was desperate to get going and there they are, in front of him, a bunch of British expats getting out of a taxi and taking far too long to move off. So he beeped them with his horn, flashed his high beams and expected the group to scuttle out of his way. Unfortunately for him, one of the men in the party wasn’t too impressed with Mr Al Thani’s behaviour and gave him some lip. This in turn wound up Mr Al Thani into a fit of road rage which led him to ram his Hummer into the group on order to ‘scare them’. While two of the men where sent flying into a fence, the wheels of the Hummer went right over the woman.

Up to this point, you could argue that this was a accident, brought on by a fit of anger and that Mr Al Thani never intended to hurt anyone. However, anyone who would lose it enough to do this simply over having to sit in a traffic queue for a few minutes has some serious anger management problems and really shouldn’t be allowed behind the wheel of a car.

Rather than stopping his vehicle having realised the seriousness of what he had done, Mr Al Thani then reversed over the woman and then drove over her for a third time and sped off!

The judge on this case argued that Mr Al Thani’s ten year sentance was because murder was not premeditated:


“It was clear that the defendant was acting in a moment of anger and loss of control and thus the court rules out the presence of any element of premeditation,” Judge Nizami said.

The National Newspaper, 28/11/08

Surely though, having hit the woman and run over her he must have realised the seriousness of what he’d done and any rational person would not reverse over their victim and then drive over them a third time in order to make a quick getaway!

The Lowestoft case involved a the owner of a building supply firm and his girlfriend.  Christopher Cauter was described by the judge as having a ‘volcanic temper’. Back in July this year, witnesses saw his girlfriend get out of their Land Rover following a row between the couple. He drove into her from behind, knocking her to the ground before reversing over here and crushing her head. He then fled the UK to Thailand, having dumped his girlfriend’s body in the back of his car and abandoning it near Chelmsford in Essex.

The judge sentenced him to a minimum of 21 years saying

“The evidence has shown that you have been violent in the past on a number of occasions and that you are a danger to others”

BBC News online, 14/11/08

It can be argued that this murder was not premeditated either, that the defendant killed his victim in a fit of sudden rage.

So why did one man get a much harsher sentance than the other? What does this say about the UAE judicial system?

I see road rage every day in Bahrain. People become impatient extremely quickly and start to drive in a reckless manner putting life and limb at risk. All for what?

The person that flashes his high beams at you because he wants you to move out of his way. The person who beeps their horn and gesticulates behind you because you won’t illegally enter a yellow box at a traffic signal. The person who drives onto the pavement because they can’t wait while you make a left turn. The list goes on.

In my opinion, the pathetic ten year sentence which probably wont’ be ten years thanks to Vitamin W sends the message that road rage is not a serious problem and that losing your temper and killing someone is not as serious committing adultery. Where’s the logic in that?

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Posted in: driving, law, uae