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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Re-enactment of Lauren Patterson’s killing played in Qatar appeal court

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A videotaped re-enactment of British teacher Lauren Patterson’s killing was played in court for the first time yesterday during an ongoing appeal hearing for two men convicted of the woman’s murder.

Patterson went missing briefly in October 2013, before the remains of her body were found at a farm outside of Doha. The 24-year-old was last seen with the two defendants following a night out at a La Cigale nightclub.

Lauren Patterson

In March, a lower criminal court in Doha sentenced Badr Hashim Khamis Abdallah al-Jabar to death and ordered his friend Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz to spend three years in prison for helping al-Jabar burn Patterson’s body, as well as for damaging and erasing evidence.

Defense lawyers for the two men previously argued during their criminal trial that Patterson attacked al-Jabar in his home with a knife, and that she was stabbed by accident during the scuffle.

A re-enactment of the defense’s version of events was apparently recorded several days after al-Jabar was arrested, but never aired at the criminal trial. It’s not clear what prompted it to be played yesterday.

Badr Hashim Khamis Abdullah Al-Jabar
Badr Hashim Khamis Abdullah Al-Jabar

The video was shot under the direction of the prosecutor involved in the case, who can be heard encouraging al-Jabar to recreate the account he gave in an earlier statement to authorities. The action is choreographed by al-Jabar.

Parts of it appeared to contradict the narrative heard by the lower court about Patterson’s last hours.

For example, in the video, al-Jabar and a police officer acting as Patterson are seen standing and engaged in a struggle when the knife that was supposedly held by the British woman enters her body. During previous court hearings, defense attorneys said Patterson fell on the knife.

This discrepancy was not raised in either the criminal hearing or the ongoing appeal session.

Re-enactment

Patterson, a kindergarten teacher at Newton British School, had left La Cigale with her friend and the two defendants in the early hours of Oct. 12, 2013. The men dropped the other woman off at her home with the promise that they would also drop Patterson off shortly after.

The smoldering remains of her body were later found in the desert by campers.

The prosecutor has argued al-Jabar took Patterson to a home he used for sexual trysts with women, “conquered her body,” and killed her by stabbing her twice.

Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz
Mohamed Abdallah Hassan Abdul Aziz

Then, with the help of Abdul Aziz, he put Patterson’s body in the trunk of his car and drove her to Al-Kharrara, where they burned her remains.

The defense has consistently argued that there is no evidence to support this theory, and that Patterson was accidentally stabbed during a physical altercation she initiated.

The video played at yesterday’s court hearing added new details to the defense’s version of events.

Filmed five days after Patterson’s death, the re-enactment opens with al-Jabar walking the prosecutor through every room of a multi-story villa. The tour included an upper-floor bedroom, containing a bed covered in men’s clothing, where al-Jabar said he and Patterson had consensual sex.

He said the two then went downstairs where Patterson grabbed a knife and attacked him.

During the struggle, al-Jabar explained, the knife held by Patterson pierced her body while they were both still standing. In response to a question posed by the prosecutor as the video was filmed, al-Jabar said he couldn’t remember what angle the knife entered Patterson’s body.

Family’s reaction

By this point yesterday, several people attending other matters in the courthouse had entered the hearing room where the Patterson appeal was taking place to watch the video re-enactment – a unique piece of evidence in Qatar’s judicial system.

Among the observers present was Patterson’s mother, Alison, who has flown to Doha to attend several of the court hearings over the past year.

Alison Patterson, mother of Lauren Patterson.
Alison Patterson, mother of Lauren Patterson.

She stood as she watched the video with a stoic expression on her face, but started to cry during the final stages of the re-enacted physical fight, in which a police officer stood in her daughter’s place.

Later in the day, outside the courtroom, Alison Patterson and close family friend Kevin Crotty said they had concerns about the content of the video, as well as its potentially misleading images.

They noted that Lauren Patterson was right-handed, but al-Badar directed the officer in the film to grab the knife with his left hand before coming at him.

More broadly, Alison Patterson noted that the police officer acting in place of her daughter was taller and larger than her daughter, which she feared could give the impression that the British teacher was a physical match for a man of al-Badar’s stature.

In a statement to Doha News, the mother added:

“Their lawyers apparently resigned and the new lawyer stood up and said to the court that his morals only allowed him to defend these two criminals because he was believed it was legitimate self-defense. But his morals also allowed to let the mother of the victim stand in front of court four feet behind the two accused and watch an enactment of her daughter’s murder.

Where had his morals gone at this stage?! He then proceeded afterwards to call his first witness, insisting that she was in court and in the courtroom, turned around, called her name and she was not there. We also found out that she was not contacted to attend yesterday’s session. This made what is already a ridiculous defense even more ridiculous and laughable.”

Defense changes

Yesterday’s hearing started off with the two accused men – who are being held in custody during their appeal and appeared in court wearing blue prison jumpsuits – officially appointing a new lawyer to represent them. They had been previously represented by two lawyers who, the court heard, dropped the men as clients.

The new lawyer told the court that he would have never accepted the case if he had even a shred of doubt that the killing was not a matter of self defense.

Qatar’s Court of Appeal and Court of Cassation

He told the court that he wanted to examine as witnesses the friend that had been with Patterson the night she was killed as well as her ex-boyfriend.

The prosecutor objected, saying it appeared to be a stalling tactic to further draw out the appeal. The prosecutor also argued that there was no reason to call the friend back to court in light of her extensive cross-examination during the criminal trial, nor the ex-boyfriend given that he was not involved in the incident.

The judges hearing the appeal are expected to announce their decision on the defense lawyer’s request at the next session, which is scheduled for Dec. 14.

Thoughts?

16 COMMENTS

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Saeed Ahmad Khan
Saeed Ahmad Khan
6 years ago

Full of lies….death penalty was already given…Then why new lawyer..hope the teacher gets honest justice. A mothers cry and feelings can never lie or be fake.

desertCard
desertCard
6 years ago

Yes you can be convicted of murder for vehicular deaths in the US.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Give one case… You can only be charged with first or second degree homicide if you used the car as a weapon in premeditated murder … Otherwise it’s degrees of vehicular homicide/manslaughter…

And with a good enough team of lawyers get away with a few hundred hours of community service…

Restie
Restie
6 years ago
Reply to  desertCard

Why was my comment removed? I politely stated my disagreement that vehicular manslaughter does not carry an execution penalty in the United States.

Butterball
Butterball
6 years ago

I do not want Qatar to follow the justice systems of other nations. Personally I could care less what “developed” countries justice systems do as I am not from one of these “developed” nations.

There are many cases in the U.S., U.K., general EU etc. where I feel justice was not served and the individual deserved a harsher sentence. For example the recent case in Norway where a drunk man killed a 2 year old while driving recieved a short sentence. If you purposefully get into a car and drive recklessly KNOWING (whether you are drunk or not) you can harm others; yes I see it as manslaughter.
I am not against the death penalty or life sentences (whether it’s in Qatar or elsewhere).
I do not see it as barbaric nor have I ever seen Qatar that way because it enforces it; of course this is my personal opinion on the death penalty and I know that others disagree which is fine.

As well; not all cases go this slow. The Filipino maid along with the individuals who assisted her in murdering the old Qatari lady she was working for were given the death penalty and that was that. There was no beating around the bush.

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Butterball

Can the filipino lady and her associates afford lawyers to appeal their judgements?

Anywhere in the world if you have money you can prolong your court battles playing legal games, or do you seriously believe a random black man in LA would have as good of a chance beating a murder charge as OJ Simpson did?

Butterball
Butterball
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

And that makes it ok? So, because others do it we should follow in their steps? Most people saw OJ’s trial as a sad joke. As well, Qatar’s legal system follows Sharia Law as it’s main form of jurisdiction which makes it quite different than Western systems.
I am not attacking Qatar. I feel safe here for the most part; all I am saying is that I hope justice is served as it is indicated in the law. Just because other nations don’t carry out justice doesn’t mean it’s ok.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago

If everyone keeps reading your intelligent comments hopefully it will rub off on them and they will no longer be so dumb

Saleem
Saleem
6 years ago
Reply to  Jaded

It doesn’t work that way, otherwise everyone here who reads your witty hilarious comments would have their own TV shows by now.

Jaded
Jaded
6 years ago
Reply to  Saleem

I’ll start praying for that right now

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago

Vehicular manslaughter is very different that dangerous and reckless driving.
however try not to get distracted from the main point of this story.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

No it’s not it’s the same thing but they’re are different degrees and the test is in which degree to convict the individual was it criminal negligence or gross negligence or reckless disregard safety all three which are vehicular manslaughter but all carry different punishments

Gareth Walters
Gareth Walters
6 years ago
Reply to  A_qtr

A_qtr lets keep the focus on Lauren and her case. There will be a forum for this other case, its important to show respect for what is relevant here.

A_qtr
A_qtr
6 years ago
Reply to  Gareth Walters

Welcome to the internet buddy

outdoorsboys
outdoorsboys
6 years ago

A video enactment NOT re-enactment. A re-enactment is an accurate portrayal of events. This video farce is choreographed by the defendant, full of inaccuracies, not even attempting to portray the fact that the victim was a small woman versus the defendant and his accomplice who look like a typical large slightly overweight mature men.
I am frankly appalled that the judiciary is going along with this disgraceful attempt to both vilify the victim as a foiled attacker, and to allow uncorroborated information to be presented as ‘evidence’. I would like to make a video of the events too- will that be shown in court? Including them dragging her away to be shoved in the boot of a vehicle then burned without ceremony in the desert. To be found, ‘smoking’, as Doha News so hideously and insensitively reported.
My heart goes out to her Mother. No doubt they will be found not guilty, all I can say is I hope their God deals with them pertinently in the next world.

Martin
Martin
6 years ago

I’m appalled at what Laurens mother has to endure. If the case wasn’t awful enough to have weeks or months between hearings just adds injustice to pain.
Why can’t Qatar simply run a case from beginning to end like other Justice systems?

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