Man tested positive for drugs because of sample mix-up, Dubai court hears

Lawyer claims businessman's urine sample showed traces of drugs because it had been mixed up with another one.

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DUBAI // An American businessman tested positive for drugs only because his urine sample had been mixed up with someone else's, a court heard today.

The businessman's lawyer Abdul Hamid Al Kumaiti told the Criminal Court that the sample of his client, HA, was numbered 43, but the one referred to by the prosecution was numbered 42. The sample held by the prosecution showed traces of opium.

"Police officers who worked on the case testified that no drugs were found on the defendant nor in his residence," added the lawyer, who claims police did not follow correct procedures in arresting the businessman.

"He is a 65-year-old with high blood pressure and diabetes your honour, I would like to request the court to release him on bail," added the lawyer.

Police officer KM, 42, an Emirati, said that the businessman was believed to be a regular consumer of drugs and that an arrest warrant was issued against him on January 22.

He was arrested that evening and, according to police, confessed to possessing and consuming drugs.

"He told me that he took marijuana and opium while outside the country and the last time he did this was in Turkey," said the policeman.

But this account was contradicted by Mr Al Kumaiti.

"My client did not confess, he told the investigating prosecutors that he did nothing wrong and doesn't know why he was being held," said the defence lawyer.

In court the businessman denied charges of consuming drugs.

The court said it would investigate whether the samples had been mixed up and adjourned the case to May 21.