A British granddad may go to jail in Dubai after irate neighbours accused him of trespassing. The strange scenario happened when he asked his daughter’s noisy neighbours to keep the music down while he was babysitting.
The 75-year-old Scottish resident of Aberdeenshire, Ian MacKeller, went to the United Arab Emirates to see his daughter and take care of her little child.
Because Ian’s daughter had an early shift the following day and the neighbours were hosting a New Year’s Eve party, they requested that the host please reduce the volume.
At 1am on New Year’s Day, they messaged the neighbour asking them to turn the music down, but it only got louder, they claim. Ian decided to go over and ask them to quieten down, taking his infant granddaughter with him so his daughter could get some sleep.
When no one answered the door, Ian noticed an open path leading to the garden where the party was happening. He requested that the celebration be moved inside, but he says the attendees began shoving and yelling at him, even knocking his granddaughter’s bottle out of his hands.
Ian was being helped by a few guests to leave when the host approached him, yelling at him and even “throwing her drink over him and the baby”.
Ian labelled her actions as “unacceptable,” and wanted to get the police involved, but his daughter was against it, fearing neighbourly tension. In an unexpected turn of events, the host of the party reported Ian for trespassing, stopping him from leaving the country and potentially landing him in prison for several years.
Radha Stirling, a lawyer and CEO of Detained in Dubai, is now fighting for Ian’s release, and explained, “It is standard practice in Dubai to preemptively file a police report when at risk of being reported. The prosecution tends to side with whomever makes the first police report, so if someone is at risk of being reported themselves, they will quickly file against the actual victim.”
“This is how people familiar with Dubai justice manipulate the system to their advantage. It is commonplace for foreigners in this situation to offer financial compensation to their accuser in order to drop the case.”
“The authorities in Dubai need to crack down on this blatant abuse of the criminal justice system. The practice is systemic and will require significant legislative change to stamp it out completely.”
Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, has also been contacted by Ian for assistance.
A spokesman for Mr Bowie’s office said: “Andrew has engaged with the Foreign Office after being contacted by Mr McKellar, and has given details of his case to the relevant minister.
“Andrew’s office are giving Mr McKellar’s family advice and support, and are working to help get him the medical help he needs.”