DUBAI // A British DJ freed after 10 months in a Dubai jail for drug offences was expected to hold talks with the BBC on his radio career. Raymond Bingham, 40, who performs under the name Grooverider, is considered one of the leading influences on the drum 'n' bass genre of electronic music. He was arrested at Dubai International Airport last November when he was on his way to play a sold-out show at The Lodge nightclub.
The DJ, who hosted a weekly show on BBC Radio One, had 2.16g of cannabis in his luggage, and tests later found traces of the drug in his urine. At his trial in February, Bingham admitted to possessing the drug, but said he had forgotten it was in his trousers and that he had not intended to bring it into the UAE. On Thursday, he was deported to the UK after being included in a list of more than 700 prisoners freed in Dubai as a gesture of goodwill and compassion during Ramadan.
Yesterday, a spokesman for the BBC confirmed that Bingham had returned to Britain and was spending time with family and friends. "He will be meeting with the Radio One management in due course." A page on the social networking site Facebook, which had been set up to petition for his freedom, has been filled with dozens of celebratory messages since news of his release was made public. "Great news, welcome back," wrote one fan, while another praised the decision to grant him a pardon.
Speaking to a British newspaper from jail last month, Bingham said he was hopeful of being included in the annual Ramadan list of people to be pardoned. "I'm doing OK. The whole thing came as a total shock." He also said the sentence was longer than he had been led to believe it was going to be by legal advisers. A spokesman for the British Consul in Dubai said he thought between 10 and 12 UK citizens were among the 777 prisoners pardoned on Thursday.