ITP executive jailed for Dubai 'sex on the beach' incident

A British pair jailed for three months today for having sex on a Dubai beach will appeal against the verdicts, their lawyer said.

Vince Acors, 34, of Bromley, south east London, and Michelle Palmer, 36, of Oakham, Rutland, were found guilty during a short hearing at Dubai’s Court of First Instance this morning.

Palmer was an associate publisher at ITP Publishing in Dubai, which employs a large number of UK journalists and commercial staff on titles including Middle East versions of Time Out and Grazia. Palmer was sacked her employers in July as soon as the incident came to light.

As well as jailing the pair, Judge Hamdi Abul Kharr fined them 1,000 dirhams (£155) and ordered their deportation.

The pair were seen romping on Jumeirah Beach on July 5, hours after meeting at a £60 all-you-can-drink champagne brunch.

After the hearing Hassam Matter, who represents Palmers and Acors, said: “We are making an appeal against the verdict.

“They haven’t been arrested and taken into custody yet.

“I have 15 days to appeal. I have to find the reason why the judge gave three months.

“They are innocent. They are at home (in Dubai). I have spoken to them. They are upset.”

Acors and Palmer both denied offences of unmarried sex and public indecency but admitted being drunk at the time of their arrest, in the early hours of July 5.

The pair met at Dubai’s five-star Le Meridien hotel just hours before their arrest for cavorting in public.

Prosecutors said they were seen having sex on Jumeirah Beach after being dropped off by a taxi.

But Palmer, who worked on the emirate as a publishing executive, claimed they were “just kissing and hugging”.

Mr Matter had said witness statements, including one from a police officer, were “wrong”.

And he said medical examinations proved Miss Palmer did not have sex.

Senior prosecutor Faisal Abdelmalek Ahli said he was disappointed at the length of sentence.

“I’m not happy,” he said, speaking outside court. “It’s very light. It’s normal for a sentence to be six months to a year for an offence such as this.”

Ahli said he expected Acors and Palmer to serve their full three-month term in a Dubai prison.

“Sometimes people serve half their sentence, but this is so short I expect they will serve it all,” he said.

He said Acors and Palmer would remain on bail until their appeal is heard at the court.

“The appeal will be within the next 15 days, but I do not know exactly when,” he said.

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