Ethiopian maid mistakenly ends up in murder trial

By IndepthAfrica
In East Africa
Sep 18th, 2012

DUBAI: A maid wrongly stood trial for murder at the Dubai Criminal Court on Monday.

The Ethiopian maid, ET, 27, accused of theft mistakenly responded when the name of a female Ugandan visitor, EK, 28 — accused of murdering her compatriot driver — was read out.

The Ugandan defendant, EK — who had not shown up — faces the charge of intentionally stabbing her compatriot driver, SK, 26, to death inside an apartment in Frij Al Murar on April 7.

Both women share the same first name and ET’s name fell somewhere below EK’s. The issue initially went unrecognised as the panel was following the order of names on the list.

Earlier in the session, a translator holding a copy of the list was heard asking the woman whether she was an Ethiopian.

Before she could answer him, someone from the panel looked at EK’s name on the list and told the translator that the woman was a Ugandan.

On the translator’s part, he had suspected the woman’s facial appearance though both were somehow identical. “I was confused and that’s why I was asking her,” he later said.

The false trial continued for around half an hour as ET bowed her head listening to a Ugandan witness, PR, 27, a security guard giving his detailed account of the murder.

It came to light when Judge Hamad Abdul Latif asked PR whether the woman in front of him was the one he spotted running downstairs with a blood-stained cloth after the fatal incident.

PR looked at ET and surprisingly shook his head, “No, she was not this one. I have never seen this one anywhere before,” he said.

No one among the panel had recognised that they were trying someone else. Shortly after, a female jail warden approached one of the male wardens to reveal that she was not EK.

“This is unbelievable!” exclaimed the judge adjourning the case till Oct.15, to bring EK to court and listen to PR again besides an Emirati police major. EK appeared after the session had already closed.

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