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Friday, March 5, 2021

Judge in Jennifer Brown murder trial orders travel ban on Doha witnesses

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With reporting from Riham Sheble

Fed up with delays in a nearly two-year-old case involving the death of an American teacher in Doha, a judge has called for a travel ban on six witnesses who have repeatedly failed to turn up to court.

Jennifer Brown, 40, was killed in her Al Sadd apartment in November 2012.

A security guard in her building was arrested and reportedly confessed to the crime a few days after Brown’s body was found in her apartment, half-naked and wrapped in a comforter on her bed.

The Kenyan defendant’s case has seen lengthy delays, in part because of his difficulty in retaining a lawyer. He appeared in court today with a new defender.

The absence of key witnesses is another factor that has contributed to the lengthy trial, which began in June 2013. At that time, a psychiatric evaluation was ordered for the defendant.

However, more than a year later, the doctor who spoke with the defendant has not appeared in court despite being summoned nearly half a dozen times.

The witness has submitted her evaluation to the court, but the defense said that due to discrepancies, he would like her to appear to clear up questions.

Five witnesses from the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigations Department have also been summoned to court.

A new panel of judges presided over the Brown case during this morning’s session, which took place four months after the previous one.

The presiding judge ordered that the six witnesses be notified to appear in court and said that they face travel bans until they testify during the next session. A seventh witness, the forensic doctor who conducted Brown’s autopsy, will not have a travel ban imposed on her.

If found guilty, the guard, faces the death penalty – though notably, Qatar has not carried out any executions in over a decade. The next session is on Dec. 7.

Thoughts?

28 COMMENTS

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Martin
Martin
6 years ago

Hopefully the Judge in the Villaggio trial will take the same approach with those convicted appellants who don’t bother to turn up to our hearings delaying Justice for our children

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Martin

he already issued a travel ban, it was ignored by some

Rapha31
Rapha31
6 years ago

So a travel ban by the courts is not an order, it’s a request.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Rapha31

depends who you are

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago

Can’t these people be charged with contempt of court for repeatly not turning up when summons. This is not a parking ticket conviction, it is a murder trial so I consider it quite a serious matter. I wonder what her poor parents think of this, a case dragging on and on because the people involved can’t be bothered to turn up.

I guess not as bad as the Villagio Case, when you can be convicted, yet still leave the country and not only that represent Qatar in a offical capacity!

Osama Alassiry
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Do we even have any laws that allow charging for contempt of court? If so, what are the rules?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contempt_of_court

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Osama Alassiry

Actually I don’t know, but I would be surprised if such a law did not exist. If it doesn’t we need one soon otherwise all these cases will drag on forever!

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Wasn’t there recently a DN article about how the courts were suffering from overwork and too many cases? Seems like if they policed their current cases properly to ensure the correct people attended each hearing each case wouldn’t take years and they could probably catch up on the docket.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Less coffee breaks might speed up the process ..no ? 🙂

MIMH
MIMH
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

That was what I was thinking too, if the courts can’t get people to turn up for serious criminal trials no wonder there is a huge backlog.

Chilidog
Chilidog
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

In my home country, if a judge says it, you better freaking comply. Apparently that’s not the case in Qatar.

Observant One
Observant One
6 years ago
Reply to  Chilidog

Depends who you are, or more to the point what nationality you are.

Airwolf
Airwolf
6 years ago
Reply to  Osama Alassiry

So actually we need more than contempt legislation. We need laws that gurantee employers will not retalliate or fire employees for being court witnesses. I can see a person having to serve as witness, and being fired by work on grounds of not working on those days because there is no protection for the worker. Yes it should not happen that way but no protection means no recourse, means you are out.

Airwolf
Airwolf
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Certain people are highly connected and can afford to ignore court requests in official capacity. This does not fly in a just environment.

BigDaddyDK
BigDaddyDK
6 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

I don’t know other legal systems terribly well, but in the U.S. if a witness doesn’t appear the judge can issue what’s called a bench warrant and the sheriff or a deputy will go locate that person, take him or her into custody for contempt of court, and bring him or her before the judge. Depending on the circumstances, that person may also face a fine and/or jail time. I had a case where I had to sue someone in the U.S., a married couple, and one of them did not show up. The presiding magistrate asked where the other respondent was and threatened to do exactly that. Had we pushed the issue it may well have happened, but it would have been unnecessary in our case. In this case, it seems completely necessary. Crazy that this can go on. This doctor’s place of business and residence should be known to the court. I cannot imagine the courts without the power to compel someone to appear. Then again, the right to a speedy trial is more of a western concept and holding someone in perpetuity in lieu of a trial isn’t unheard of in many countries.

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago

so when expats decide not to show up to court despite being repeatedly summoned no one complains… ok

Restie
Restie
6 years ago

I’m not trying to make a comparison but how do you know they are expats? The article only gives reference to their professions (1 doctor, 5 CID officers).

Rien
Rien
6 years ago

How do you know those “Five witnesses from the Ministry of Interior’s Criminal Investigations Department” are expats?

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Rien

A) if they were qatari trust me it would be mentioned on this site

B) how qatari criminal investigators you think there are?

C) there are still other witnesses other than the 5 mentioned such as the psychiatrist who examined the defendant despite being summoned half a dozen times

ShabinaKhatri
ShabinaKhatri
6 years ago

We don’t know the nationalities of all the witnesses.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

Do you think expat CID officers can on his own free will not attend court ? What have you been smoking my friend ? A fish rots from the head .. hint..hint 🙂

Mohammed Albanai
Mohammed Albanai
6 years ago
Reply to  Parwaiz Win

“Do you think expat CID officers can on his own free will not attend court ?”

yes, you are under the impression only qatari’s can avoid court thats very untrue

“A fish rots from the head .. hint..hint :)”

if your hinting at corruption that makes no sense, this isnt a political trail and the “head” has no reason to protect some random security guard

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

Yes the head has a reason if the CID officers in-charge botched the investigation and used illegal methods to get the guard to confess. After all … a good defense lawyer will certainly look into such things. Why else will an expat CID officer or Qatari officer not want to attend a murder case ? Its not like there are murders…rapes … burglaries … attempted murders … bank heist …. going on ever other day in Qatar…no ?

The Reporter
The Reporter
6 years ago

“a judge has called for a travel ban on six witnesses who have repeatedly failed to turn up to court”. What exactly does that mean? I that an order or does he just think it would be very nice of them if they turned up? What about contempt of court and an arrest warrant for non-appearance? I know it’s a bit of a truism but as long as the Qatar legal system allows people to treat it with such contempt then it will continue to be treated with contempt.

Desert Witch
Desert Witch
6 years ago
Reply to  The Reporter

It means they can’t go on holiday….

Waveydavey
Waveydavey
6 years ago

I just don’t understand why these people don’t want to help put is woman’s killer away and help her family find some peace. It’s disgusting.

Parwaiz Win
Parwaiz Win
6 years ago

Oscar Pistorious trial is already over and here we have a game of cat and mouse. Well done Qatar and shame on the lawyers who keep resigning. They are not lawyers .. they are clowns.

AnonymityBreedsContempt
AnonymityBreedsContempt
6 years ago

It’s almost like they’re hiding something.

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