Housewife appeals conviction for murder of housemaid

A housemaid, allegedly imprisoned and killed by her employer, had a record of reporting false assaults, the Appeals Court has heard.

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ABU DHABI // A housemaid who was imprisoned and killed by her employer allegedly had a record of reporting false assaults, the Appeals Court has heard.

The Emirati employer and mother of two, S H, was convicted by the Criminal Court of killing her maid, following a confession of guilt to police, and sentenced to 15 years in prison for holding her captive and three years plus Dh200,000 in blood money for murder. She was also fined Dh50,000 for recruiting the maid while she was not on her sponsorship.

Her lawyer, Ali Al Abbadi, asked the court to look into the criminal record of the victim.

“She had filed a number of false accusations against her former employers, and they were acquitted,” Mr Al Abbadi said. “We request the court to look into accusations filed against her as well.”

He argued that the maid could have died of natural causes.

Mr Al Abbadi also argued that the forensics reports in the case files matched his client’s statements.

“She said she found the victim in the bathtub, so [S H] carried her to the living room and tried to give her first aid until paramedics arrived. And the case files mention that the corpse was found wet with water.”

He added that S H’s children’s statements matched her story, and “children never lie”.

S H’s son and daughter told a social counsellor who was questioning them that they heard the victim’s screams while they were sleeping at night, so they went to their mother’s room and woke her up. Then they all went to the bathroom and saw the victim lying in the bathtub.

Mr Al Abbadi also argued the case should be ruled invalid because S H was questioned by the First Instance Court without the presence of a lawyer.

“According to the law, any defendant facing a life or death sentence should only be heard with the presence of his/her lawyer,” Mr Al Abbadi said.

Moreover, the report issued by doctors who examined the corpse was only signed by two of the doctors, missing the third doctor’s signature.

“The connection is missing between the tools found by police and the report describing the cause of death, it came very vague and only mentioned that the victim died from hitting a hard object.”

As for his client’s confessions to the police, he said the case files mentioned that she fainted after the confession, which aroused doubt and suspicion to the validity of those confessions.

A verdict will be announced on November 16.

hdajani@thenational.ae