Dubai hotel employees sentenced after Emirati girl drowns in pool

Five staff members handed suspended jail terms and fined Dh10,000 each

Five hotel employees received suspended jail sentences and fines of Dh10,000 each for their part in the Emirati girl's death.
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Five employees have been fined and given suspended sentences after a young Emirati girl drowned in a hotel pool.

The incident happened at a hotel in Al Barsha Heights in Dubai on August 2 last year, when the three-year-old girl gained access to an unmonitored adult's swimming pool.

Dubai court records showed that for six minutes no one noticed that the child was missing.

The defendants, who are from Lebanon, Canada, Cameroon and Uganda and included the hotel's manager and two lifeguards, were given a two-month suspended jail sentence and fined Dh10,000 each for their part in the child's death.

The initial ruling by Dubai Court of Misdemeanours had included a penalty of deportation, which was removed by the Court of Appeal.

Dubai's Court of Appeal also ordered them to jointly pay Dh200,000 in compensation to the girl's family.

The girl's father, whose name was not disclosed to protect the family's privacy, told judges that the hotel was crowded on the day of the incident.

He said his wife was watching their children at about 4pm when he went to the adult's pool.

"Minutes later, I got out of the pool to check on them only to find my son running towards me saying that his sister had died," the father said in court.

The absence of a barrier between the children's play area and the adult's pool, and the lack of signage indicating the depth of the pool, were a breach of Dubai Municipality's safety regulations, according to an inspector who examined the scene of the accident.

"There weren't enough sign boards about the pool's depth and the lifeguards were not vigilant," he added.

Both were cited in court as primary causes for the child's death.

It was not clear if the hotel was fined for breaching Dubai Municipality's safety rules.

CCTV footage shown in court showed one of the lifeguards talking with guests when the child drowned.

Prosecutors charged the five employees with negligence and breaching the rules and responsibilities of their professions.

All five denied the charges against them.

Updated: September 22, 2023, 3:03 PM