Qatar’s appellate court has convened for the first time to discuss the case of a British teacher murdered last October in Doha.
During yesterday’s hearing, the two defendants who were convicted last month of killing 24-year-old Lauren Patterson and disposing of her remains requested new lawyers.
The two men are Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabar, who was sentenced to death, and his friend Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz, who was given three years in prison for helping al-Jabar burn Patterson’s body.
The two Qatari convicts appeared in blue prison uniforms yesterday, and their counsel submitted paperwork asking the court for more time to review the case.
The hearing was adjourned until June 8.
Because the session was brief, the prosecutor did not specify the nature of his appeal, though Patterson’s family lawyer said he hoped the court would be asked to consider a harsher sentence for Abdul Aziz.
The lawyer, Sami Abu Sheikha, also lodged an appeal today, asking that Patterson’s family’s request for monetary compensation be referred to civil court.
Last month’s verdict did not mention any compensation for the victim’s family.
However, during the lower court trial, Abu Sheikha asked the court to award some QR20 million to Patterson’s mother – QR15 million for the pain her daughter must have endured before her death, and QR5 million for the emotional damage felt by her mother, who is a widow.
Last month, mother Alison Patterson told the media that “justice was served” in the case of Al-Jabar, but that she was deeply upset with Abdul Aziz’s lighter sentence.
“At no time did he choose to help my daughter or report the murder. In fact he did the contrary; he helped (Al-Jabar) dispose of Lauren’s body in the most callous and barbaric way.”
And in an interview with Doha News following the court decision, Patterson said that she was worried that neither of the convicted men would pay for what they did to her daughter.
Both men were arrested after Lauren Patterson’s smoldering remains were found by campers outside of Doha in October last year, shortly after she had gone missing.
During the trial, a friend of Patterson’s testified that the four had left a nightclub at La Cigale hotel together, and that the men dropped her home with the promise that they would also drop Patterson off shortly after.
The prosecutor told a court that al-Jabar took her to a home he used for sexual trysts with women, “conquered her body,” and killed her by stabbing her twice.
The defense had maintained that Patterson’s death had been an accident, and said confessions obtained from the two men on trial were coerced.
Notably, while the death penalty is still being handed out in Qatari courts, this sentence has not been carried out here for over a decade.
The Patterson trial sped through the courts in a matter of a few months. Meanwhile, the murder trial of another teacher who was killed in Qatar, 40-year-old Jennifer Brown, has stalled repeatedly.
A lower court hearing in the Brown case was held yesterday. But that trial has also been adjourned until June because the defendant, a security guard in Brown’s building, replaced his public defender with a new lawyer, who requested more time with the case.
Why does justice take so long in Doha?
The Villaggio Appeal was delayed yet again for 2 months till end May so Villaggios lawyer can go on holiday for a month, why can’t the courts just sit for however many days it takes the trial to run rather than stop starting with huge gaps, it simply makes a mockery of justice.
Qatar now has a number of high profile cases being followed internationally in the media, the UN’s report into the justice system will be released later this year and is unlikely to read well.
This is the perfect opportunity for the leadership of Qatar to pro actively reform the legal system to operate more quickly and humanely for both victims and defendants before the UN’s report is released.
I would have no issue with the length of time for the Villaggio appeal if those convicted were currently in jail waiting for the appeal to be heard. I am sure if that was the case, then the wheels of the judiciary would be moveing much faster.
However for all defendants to not only be free but to be free to leave the country, laughs in the face of justice in Qatar.
I speak under correction but I believe that it’s standard practice in many countries, my country South Africa being one, for people awaiting appeal to remain free (providing they were granted bail to begin with).
Yes that is usually the case, but it is up to the judge to decide whether they can be at liberty until the appeal is heard. Seeing the defendants in the Villaggio case complete disregard to the judicial process in Qatar, the judge should have locked them up pending an appeal.
It doesn’t make sense to use behavior of defendants in an unrelated case to influence this case.
Martin, I was talking with my father yesterday about the legal system and courts here, and, in a nut shell, it’s just not working and doing what it should. Justice takes way too long, and the appeal process is being ridiculously abused that it makes a complete mockery of justice.
We don’t have enough judges, that’s another big issue. And until someone with power actually takes notice of this, it sadly won’t change. God be with you and the other Villagio victims’ families, your case should’ve been settled by now.
Dear Abdulrahman thank you for your honesty. I hope more people like yourself are put into positions of authority to question the system positively and make the necessary changes in Qatar that will benefit everyone citizens and expats alike.
if were talking about this case in particular, remember a death sentence is a very serious thing (even in cases where the dude is obviously guilty) so its not unusual to have very long appeals and even if the death sentence sticks it may be several years before its actually carried out.
Every one is entitled to appeal their conviction, that is the basis of a fair and just legal system. However there must be a good reason for an appeal, such as evidence not considered at the first trial or new witnesses or a percived miscarriage of justice. The judge should not allow an appeal if there is not a good jsutifcaiton to proceed.
when death sentence is given you get an automatic appeal in order to try and reduce the sentence
I do not agree with the death penalty but the automatic appeal where it is given is a good thing.
Courts and justice systems all over the world take a long time. And lawyers all over the world attempt to play out cases for as long as possible. For all we know the defendant’s lawyer continuously delays the close out of this case in order for him to be kept paid by the defendants…. Wait no way lawyers are ethical professionals and would never abuse the justice system for financial gain…
Guess if you want quick and fast justice head to Saudi Arabia… all you need are a few witness pointing the finger to you and off to chop chop market…. No appeals no banana business
or maybe North Korea. They will find a faster judicial system there.