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Saturday 30 August 2014

'I used my right hand to say we have to get into left lane' - Irish teacher vows to fight Dubai deportation for 'finger flicking'

Geraldine Gittens & Anita McSorley

Published 14/05/2014 | 00:06

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An Irish teacher faces deportation from Dubai - after losing a three-year legal battle against a conviction for flicking his middle-finger at a driver.

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Conor Hayes, from Tramore Co Waterford, will be jailed for one-month for public obscenity before being deported, it has been reported.

Hayes has been living in Dubai for the past 11 years.

He manages an Irish football team in Dubai and organises the city’s Rose of Tralee competition.

The Waterford man wants to stay in Dubai and the Irish community have begun a campaign to have him pardoned.

Speaking on RTE's Morning Ireland programme earlier today, Mr Hayes denied making the action.

“The only thing that could be, and I’m not saying this man is 100pc telling lies, as we’re coming to the roundabout I used my right hand to say we have to get into the left lane and we have to turn in here.”

As well as the 'public obscenity' charge, Mr Hayes was also fined for having alcohol in his system, which he admitted to.

Mr Hayes explained that anybody found with alcohol in their system are automatically fined €1,000.

"Anybody who’s in any trouble they do a blood test and if you’ve any alcohol in system they’ll charge you. it’s a criminal offence if you make a gesture to everybody, it is completely against the law and the culture and I know that."

But he categorically denies the 'public obscenity' charge.

“If I had committed this crime, I wouldn’t have waited three-and-a-half years. I would have said this is my mistake and that’s what I deserve. The fact we waited and still hoped this case would be solved and just to be done.

“The only hope I have is if the Irish government could get onto the Irish embassy here to make a special request for a pardon which is not ideal. I’d prefer this case to be heard properly.”

Friends of Mr Hayes started sharing #pardonforconor on Twitter.

One of Conor's friends Declan O'Sullivan tweeted: "I'm throwing my support behind #pardonforconor petition to let Conor stay in #Dubai."

The incident reportedly happened on a night in January 2011 when Hayes and his wife were exiting a taxi, 7 days in Dubai reports. The driver of car behind them beeped his horn and flashed his lights.

Hayes was convicted of sticking up his middle finger during the incident.

He reportedly fined close to €200 for consuming alcohol without a licence and he lost his job two years ago because the court held onto his passport resulting in the loss of his visa.

Irish Independent

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