A UAE court acquits a passenger caught with 20 live bullets

The court acquitted a North American air traffic controller on charges of illegal trafficking and unauthorized importation of ammunition into the UAE.

At DXB Terminal 3, customs officers discovered 20 live rounds of 9mm and 22mm ammunition in the 44-year-old's luggage. He had served the nation for 13 years.

The accused confessed carrying the ammo by accident during his trial at Dubai Criminal Court, but he maintained that it was outdated and useless. A 28-year-old customs official, however, contradicted the defendant's claim by testifying that the ammunition—a mix of 16 medium-sized and 4 tiny rounds—was functional upon inspection.

The defendant explained that after departing from the UAE for New York with three bags, he traveled to various locations before returning to New York. It was there that he accidentally placed the bullets in a bag he originally did not intend to bring back to the UAE, forgetting about their presence upon his return. He cited his previous military service in the USA as warranting him a firearm license, for which these bullets were designated.

Mohammad Al Redha, the defendant's Emirati counsel, stressed that the defendant did not intend to smuggle the ammunition because it was in an easily accessible bag pocket and not disguised, even if the defendant denied knowing about the bullets and the UAE's restriction on their entrance. This was the defense argument that led to the court's acquittal of the air traffic controller and the subsequent seizure of the found ammunition.

The court's decision highlights the importance of considering intent and circumstances in legal proceedings. It also underscores the need for travelers to be vigilant about the contents of their luggage, especially when traveling across international borders. The case serves as a reminder of the potential consequences of unintentional violations of importation laws and regulations in any country.

Furthermore, it underscores the role of legal representation in defending individuals against criminal charges. In this case, the defendant's lawyer effectively argued the absence of intent to smuggle based on the specific circumstances surrounding the presence of the ammunition in the defendant's luggage. This highlights the significance of a thorough legal defense in ensuring a fair trial and a just outcome for the accused.

Read also: UAE: A four-year-old boy falls from the 20th floor in Sharjah

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