Case of beach couple adjourned after arresting officer fails to appear in court

The trial of two Britons accused of having sex on a Dubai beach is adjourned after a defendant and witness fail to attend.

The couple face charges of consensual sexual relations out of wedlock, committing a scandalous act and consuming alcoholic beverages in public.
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DUBAI // The case against a British couple accused of having sexual intercourse on a beach has been adjourned until Oct 7. Michelle Palmer, 36, and Vince Acors, 34, are both charged with having intercourse while drunk on Jumeirah Beach in July. They had met at a champagne brunch hours earlier. Court officials agreed to a postponement yesterday after the chief witness in the case, the arresting officer, failed to turn up to give evidence. The witness, Ali Mohammed Yacoub, was not told by the public prosecution to appear in court. Hassan Mattar, legal consultant for the pair, also said Palmer was ill and could not come to court. The next hearing, adjourned until after Eid al-Fitr, will include a cross examination of the witness by the defence lawyer and the judge. Mr Yacoub is expected to tell the court details of the arrest. Palmer's absence comes only days after it was disclosed that she had been admitted to hospital as a result of the stress brought on by the case. Palmer, who has lost her job as an advertising executive, was treated after suffering a panic attack. Friends said she was too scared to leave the house because of the possible reaction of the public. During the previous hearing last week, Palmer was seen crying after being told she would not be allowed to say anything. In the past week, signs reminding people to dress appropriately, have been put up along Jumeirah Beach. Undercover officers and security teams have also stepped up patrols since the July 5 incident. Acors and Palmer have both denied the charges and defence lawyers have said DNA tests prove they did not have intercourse. If found guilty, they face jail sentences, fines and deportation. In a blog entry written soon after her arrest, Palmer pleaded for leniency from the public, saying: "Please imagine if it were you. This is punishment enough."