09 June 2008

Wafi robbery: Man jailed for 10 years

A company owner will spend 10 years in prison after a court found him involved in last year's Dh14.7 million armed robbery at a jewellery store in Wafi City.

The Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced Serb national N.M., 33, to 10 years in jail after he was named as an accomplice to an unidentified number of fugitives in the raid in April 2007. He will be deported after serving his punishment.

Presiding Judge Fahmi Mounir said the defendant will pay Dh20,000 in temporary compensation to Graff jewellery store.

Meanwhile, the court acquitted N.M.'s compatriot visitor, M.M., 52, for lack of evidence.

The judge referred the civil compensation claim, lodged by Graff's legal representative Abdul Moniem Bin Suwaidan to the Dubai Civil Court.

"Ten years! Ten years!" exclaimed N.M., looking at his family members who attended yesterday's hearing as court guards escorted him out of the dock.

"I will definitely appeal the verdict," N.M.'s lawyer Ali Abdullah Al Shamsi told Gulf News.

The Public Prosecution's arraignment sheet charged N.M. with aiding and abetting a number of unidentified robbers who stole two cars, drove into the Wafi City at about 10pm and brought down the jewellery shop's glass front by crashing the car into it.

The robbers were wearing masks and used toy guns to terrorise shop attendants. They smashed the display cases with iron tools, snatched the contents and fled.

Law enforcement officers tracked down the two Serbs and referred them to court.

Not linked

Meanwhile it is believed that four unidentified suspects are still at large and police are hunting them.

According to the verdict, the court was convinced that the accused was aware of the heist as he escorted them to stores on Shaikh Zayed Road and other areas where they bought the tools for the robbery and black abayas which the escapees reportedly used to mask themselves during the heist.

M.M. was charged with possessing stolen jewel-lery. The court discharged M.M. because charges against him were uncorroborated.

"My client is not linked to the crime or the four main suspects who are still absconding ... My client stopped contacting the fugitives two weeks prior to the crime," Al Shamsi said.

He argued that his client was questioned by the police and the Public Prosecution unlawfully because no Serb translator was present.

/Gulf News/

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