Driver gets one year for passenger's death after fight

The sentence is suspended in conviction, which stemmed from a fatal heart attack after an argument in a taxi.

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DUBAI // A taxi driver charged with assaulting a passenger who died of a heart attack shortly afterwards was sentenced to a suspended one-year prison term, a Dubai court ruled this morning. 

The deceased man, Hussein Ali, died in police custody immediately after his arrest on February 26, 2010, last year for fighting with the Pakistani driver near the Hyatt Regency hotel in Deira, court records show.

Officers discovered Mr Ali was dead in the back seat of the patrol car when it arrived at the Naif police station, records state.

The driver, MN, 44, was then charged at the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance with assault leading to death, facing up to 10 years in jail and Dh250,000 in blood money penalty if found guilty. 

The prison sentence is suspended for three years, according to the court's verdict.

According to prosecutors, Mr Ali took MN's taxi that night ordering him to "go straight". After a while, according to MN's testimony to prosecutors, MN asked him to identify a destination. An argument erupted between the two and MN said Mr Ali attacked him physically.

When police arrived, records show, blood was found around the vehicle resulting from the fight and a police officer testified that he saw blood on MN's face. An ambulance was called and the passenger was checked.

The ambulance driver told prosecutors Mr Ali passenger did not complain of any injuries and was released into police custody.

A postmortem examination from the police coroner stated that the death was caused by a heart attack triggered by psychological and physical stress. The report also said the passenger had an advanced heart condition that caused minor heart attacks.