Appeal court to review evidence in Billy Hood case in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.
Billy Hood, a 24 year old footballer, is about to find out whether he is going to spend 25 years in a Dubai jail over CBD oil that his friend negligently left behind in Billy’s car.
Billy was sentenced to 25 years for possessing, selling and trafficking 4 small bottles of contraband CBD oil that was left in his car by a holidaying friend who Billy drove to the airport in January.
Ms Divya from Mohammad Al Najjar Advocates says, "We have visited Billy at Al Barsha Police station before his transfer to Al Aweer and he is in high spirits, hopeful for a successful appeal. Lawyer Mohammad Al Najjar will be appearing in Abu Dhabi to vigorously fight for Billy Hood's justice”.
Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai and Due Process International has reviewed the legal defence, “It is very clear from the evidence that the first court never even heard Billy’s defence at the first hearing. They convicted him based solely on the prosecutorial evidence. This is quite standard in Dubai but can cause enormous and undue stress on the victim, not to mention the escalating legal bills.
“The prosecution evidence that Billy was ‘selling drugs’ relies solely on Billy having £4,000 cash in his apartment and they are fully aware this was money paid by his employer for his coaching job. It is appalling that the police charged him with selling drugs and even more appalling that the Judge accepted it.
“With regards to trafficking, the prosecutor’s evidence relies solely on the fact that the bottles were purchased overseas. Billy did not traffick the bottles into Dubai. There is simply no evidence of that, but the prosecutors and judges have so far been willing to take this young man’s life away and unfairly persuade a court to sentence him to decades behind bars.
“In the allegation of possession, social media communications confirm that the bottles were not Billy’s, did not belong to him and that he had no interest or desire to have them in his possession. Billy should not be punished for the mistakes of his friend. We can not promote a society whereby friends or relatives take legal responsibility for others. Billy’s drug tests all returned negative, confirming again that he is not a drug user and has been completely honest from the onset. Trace elements of hashish remain in the blood for up to two months and his negative test confirms what he and his family have said all along.
“We do understand that drug laws need to be enforced, but there is so much pressure to enforce these laws, that innocent people like Andy Neal, Derrin Crawford, Peter Clark and of course, Billy Hood, are winding up in prison for nothing, experiencing the most traumatic times of their lives. None of these people will ever be the same. Some have experienced severe PTSD as a result of their detentions and even refuse to travel ever again. Others have lost their life savings to legal fees, their homes, their families, their reputations and their employment.
“There is no compensation for this and possibly nothing that could ever make up for the tragic situation they’ve endured.
“Billy’s MP Felicity Buchan confirmed the FCDO consular team will be attending the hearing tomorrow. The FCDO will attend cases that have gained significant media attention but otherwise, will simply provide a list of local lawyers and wish them the best of luck.
“Billy’s lawyers will call us as soon as they have news tomorrow, likely just after lunch and we will announce it on our Facebook page”.