Qatar’s highest court has thrown out a guilty verdict and death penalty sentence for a local man convicted of killing a British teacher in 2013.
This morning, the Court of Cassation accepted an appeal filed by Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah Al-Jabar, who was convicted of stabbing and killing Lauren Patterson, and burning her remains in the desert two and a half years ago.
Al-Jaber will remain in custody, but be given a new trial at the Court of Appeal.
Also today, the Court of Cassation denied an appeal request from Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz, who was found guilty of helping Al-Jabar dispose of Patterson’s body, as well as damaging and erasing evidence.
That means he has exhausted all chances to appeal his three-year prison term.
Reacting to the development, Patterson’s mother Alison told Doha News that she was “disgusted and devastated” by the court’s decision:
“I am totally dumbfounded how anyone could think that someone who acted so callously deserves another chance and is given a retrial. The only ones who suffer because of this are the innocent ones.
Lauren who did nothing wrong but was brutally murdered for trusting someone and myself and family and friends, we are the ones being sentenced. We have to live with what they did to Lauren everyday and now we have to suffer further.”
Both Al-Jaber and Abdul Aziz were convicted by a lower criminal court in March 2014 on charges related to Patterson’s death.
A year later, the Court of Appeal upheld those court sentences.
At the time, a judge said that there was consensus for the verdict to remain.
However, now a new panel of judges will hear the case against Al-Jabar, whose lawyer argued that the Court of Appeals’ decision was “erroneous and not based on a sound legal foundation.”
This doesn’t mean new evidence will necessarily be introduced, but the panel will evaluate what was previously entered into the record to see if any errors were made, legal sources told Doha News.
The two Qatari men had been the last to see Patterson alive after she had briefly gone missing in October 2014.
According to the prosecutor, the 24-year-old was taken to a home that Al-Jaber used for sexual trysts with women. He then “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.
Al-Jaber faced the death penalty either by hanging or shooting.
However, while the death penalty is still being handed out in courts, this sentence has not been carried out in Qatar for over a decade.
According to court clerks, the paperwork for the new case will be filed within the next few weeks. A new court date has yet to be set.