Page last updated at 14:35 GMT, Tuesday, 2 September 2008 15:35 UK

UK 'sex on beach' trial delayed

Vince Acors
Vince Acors was in Dubai on holiday when he met Michelle Palmer

The trial of a British man and woman accused of having sex on a beach in Dubai has been delayed for a week.

Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, south-east London, and Michelle Palmer, 36, of Oakham, Rutland, appeared at the Gulf state's Court of First Instance.

The trial was adjourned until next Tuesday, when a police officer who allegedly saw them will give evidence.

The pair deny charges of public indecency and having unmarried sex but admit consuming alcohol.

They were arrested after allegedly being seen having sex on a public beach on 5 July.

Mr Acors and Miss Palmer, who are both on bail, arrived separately at court.

If found guilty they could face a prison sentence of up to six years, but senior prosecutor Faisal Abdelmalek Ahli says they are more likely to be jailed for between six months and a year as well as being fined and deported.

'Proved innocent'

A lawyer for the pair said DNA and medical tests had failed to prove they had had illegal sex on the beach.

Hassan Matter said: "Medical reports for Michelle said that she didn't have sex. The DNA from Michelle said she didn't have sex.

"They were arrested at about 1am and they went for a medical report at about 8.30am.

"The medical examination of Vincent didn't give any sure findings."

Mr Matter, who was speaking after Tuesday's adjournment, also insisted both of the accused would be proved innocent.

In a statement to the court at a previous hearing, Miss Palmer said: "We were just kissing and hugging. We didn't have sex together. I was lying on top of him.

"I have been in Dubai for two-and-a-half years without committing any kind of offence. I'm sorry."

Map of Dubai

The pair met hours before their arrest at a 60 all-you-can-drink champagne brunch at the Le Meridien Hotel, close to Dubai Airport.

One witness, a 21-year-old Palestinian man, told police he saw them "start kissing" after getting out of a taxi.

According to Mr Ahli, the police officer who made the arrests described seeing Miss Palmer with her "shirt off" and "sitting on" Mr Acors.

The officer said the couple had not noticed him until he shone his torch in their direction.

But Mr Matter said the accounts of the two men would be disputed by the defence team.

"I am sure my clients are not guilty. They are innocent."

Miss Palmer, who worked for the ITP Publishing Group, was sacked following her arrest.

"Following an internal review of this incident, the company has dismissed the member of staff in question," said a company spokeswoman.





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