AN OFFALY man accused of having sex with his girlfriend in a Dubai taxi has been sent to jail for three months.
Conor McRedmond (28), a welder from Tullamore, and Rebecca Blake (29), a recruitment consultant from Surrey, both denied charges of "breach of honour with consent" and committing "an indecent act in a taxi" when they appeared in court last month. But they pleaded guilty to a third charge related to consumption of alcohol in public.
However, a United Arab Emirates court this morning found them guilty of all counts and sentenced both to three months in prison and deportation, in addition to a fine of 3,000 dirhams (€630) each, according to their lawyer Shaker al-Shammary.
He said they would appeal.
Mr McRedmind had told Dubai Misdemeanours Court that the taxi driver made a malicious false accusation after rowing with him over the fare and claimed his account was inconsistent.
Pakistani taxi driver Qaiser Khan (29) accused Ms Blake of getting naked in the back of his cab.
He was driving them home at 11pm on May 4 this year when he said they became confused about where they wanted to go.
In his rearview mirror, he noticed Ms Blake had taken her top off and was straddling Mr McRedmond and "moaning for two minutes and making the sounds of a woman having sex", according to police records.
The pair are the latest to fall foul of strict morality laws in the UAE.
In 2008, a British couple was found guilty of engaging in drunken sexual activity out of wedlock and in public on a beach in Dubai. They were sentenced to three months in prison followed by deportation but had their jail terms overturned on appeal.
In 2010, another British couple were sentenced to a month in jail and fined for kissing on the mouth in a restaurant in Dubai.
The cultural chasm in the Gulf Arab state between the country's native Muslim population and the expatriates community, is conspicuous in everyday life.
While Emirati women cover themselves from head to toe with a headscarf and a traditional black gown, some of their Western expatriate counterparts walk around in shorts or mini-skirts, and public beaches are full of tourists sunbathing in bikinis.
Islam bans alcohol for Muslims. In the UAE, non-Muslims can drink at most hotels and beach bars where all-you-can-drink brunches heave with revellers every weekend.
Expatriates make up more than 90pc of the UAE's population.