A British businesswoman and an Irish man accused of engaging in sexual activities in a Dubai taxi have been jailed.
Rebecca Blake, a £100,000-a-year recruitment consultant, is accused of stripping naked in the back of a Dubai cab and writhing on top of Conor McRedmond.
The conviction came despite DNA tests to show evidence of intercourse coming back negative.
The pair pleaded not guilty to charges of having consensual sex and indecency, which related to stripping off in public, but were convicted on both counts and ordered to serve a total of three months in prison before being deported.
Accused: Rebecca Blake, 29, left, and Conor McRedmond, 28, right, deny having sex in the back of a Dubai taxi in May, but do admit to indulging in an all-day drinking binge
Both had previously pleaded guilty to consuming alcohol and were fined £512.
The case is the latest in which Westerners have fallen foul of the United Arab Emirates’ decency laws, highlighting cultural differences as the UAE seeks a balance between maintaining its Muslim identity and catering for a vibrant tourism industry.
‘The court sentenced them to jail for three months and deportation in addition to a fine of 3,000 dirhams ($817) each,’ said their lawyer Shaker al-Shammary. He said they would appeal.
The pair were also charged with consuming alcohol after admitting to a 10-hour drinking binge on the day of their arrest.
During the trial Mr Al Shammary told the court: ‘This is Dubai, not a mosque. Everyone drinks.’
Ms Blake, 29, of Dorking, Surrey, and welder Mr McRedmond, 28, from Tullamore, County Offaly, were arrested on May 4 after meeting for the first time earlier that day in a hotel bar.
Pakistani taxi driver Qaiser Khan, 29, said he picked the couple up at around 11pm after their all-day drinking binge, which had started with midday brunch and unlimited drinks.
During the journey Mr Khan said he looked in his rear view mirror and noticed Ms Blake had taken her top off.
She was straddling Mr McRedmond and was ‘moaning for two minutes and making the sounds of a woman having sex’, according to police records.
He pulled over on Sheikh Zayed road when he spotted a police patrol car.
He then asked Emirati policeman Abdullah Obaid Khamis, 22, to, ‘Come and see what they are doing.’
The officer said he found the pair having sex in the car and interrupted them by tapping on the window, the court heard.
Ms Blake, who moved to Dubai in September last year and worked for Manpower recruitment firm until she was sacked after the incident in May, has said: ‘I’m no saint. The whole incident was a blur.’
She began drinking at a £35-a-head hotel brunch with free-flowing wine, then indulged in a happy hour at the bar before moving to the Irish Village pub with Mr McRedmond. The pair left the bar at 10.30pm.
Fired: A tearful Rebecca Blake has lost her job at recruitment firm
During the trial Mr Al Shammary told the court: ‘They took a taxi outside a hotel and (Mr McRedmond) had an argument with the taxi driver about the fare because he saw the driver had taken him the long way round. He told him he would report him to the police.
‘My clients live here and they know Dubai so they knew the quickest route. The taxi driver saw he was drunk and thought he should go to the police before he had a chance to complain. As soon as he saw a police car he pulled over and said they were having sex.
‘When the officer came over, they had their clothes on and were not doing anything. The witness statements do not tally.
He added: ‘There was no proof they had sex and (Ms Blake) had her period so they could not have done. They are adults who know what they are doing so they could have had sex in a hotel if they had wanted to. Why bother in a taxi?’
In a statement to police, Mr Khan said the couple asked him to take them to Al Barsha area, then kept changing their minds.
‘They kept asking me to go left and right and finally asked me to go to the marina. I noticed the man was drinking and told him it was not allowed to have alcohol inside the taxi but he drank it and threw the bottle out of the window,’ Mr Khan told police.
‘The next thing, I looked in the mirror and saw the woman sitting on the man’s thighs. She was naked, moving up and down and making sounds.’
Mr Khan said when the policeman arrived on the scene Blake had offered him ‘a lot of money’ to say they were kissing rather than having sex.
‘I refused and told the truth during the investigation,’ he told police.