Man on camera charges mentally ill, court told

A man charged with concealing a miniature camera inside a women's toilet was mentally ill, the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance heard.

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DUBAI // A man charged with concealing a miniature camera inside a women's toilet at the Ministry of Environment and Water building in Dubai earlier this year was told to do so by voices in his head, the Dubai Criminal Court of First Instance heard yesterday. Saeed al Ghailani, the defence lawyer, said in his closing argument that his client, AK, was mentally ill and had been undergoing psychiatric treatment for the past five years at Al Amal Psychiatric Hospital and the Iranian Hospital in Dubai.

AK suffered from paranoia, depression and multiple-personality disorder, he said. "He finds himself compelled to obey and carry out orders he receives in his head from unknown persons or sources," he said. Forensic police removed the camera after it was discovered in the women's toilet on the fifth floor of the ministry last November. However, Mr Ghailani said AK, an Emirati, disregarded the dangers of being discovered and installed a second camera in the same location in February.

"His action shows a lack of awareness of the consequences of such actions as he is compelled to obey the voices. Despite the discovery of the first camera and despite everyone in the building knowing about it, he went ahead and installed a second camera less than three months later." Mr Ghailand denied police claims that his client was arrested in a sting operation. He said AK had confessed to the human resources manager at the ministry.

"My client was stammering and agitated and he told the manager 'they found the camera' and told him that he had stuffed paper towels in the bathroom false ceiling, claiming he was ordered to do so by the voice of an employee at the ministry who, at the time, was on her annual leave." He said AK's colleagues described him as a respectable and decent person who never looked up when a female colleague passed him in the corridor. This was the exact opposite of the person referred to in the charge sheet, suggesting AK might also suffer from multiple-personality disorder.

"Residing within the defendant are several personalities, up to five, one of whom is decent and respectable, one is a sociopath and the third is intensely religious." Summing up, Mr Ghailani asked the court to find AK not guilty and, instead, to remand him to a mental care facility for treatment. The court will issue its ruling on Sept 16. @email:hbathish@thenational.ae