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Solicitor in 'sex on the beach' case speaks out
Who? Andrew Crossley, 45, civil litigation partner at London firm ACS Law.
Why is he in the news? He represented Vince Acors, 34, one of the Britons sentenced to prison in the ‘sex on the beach’ case in Dubai.
Acors had met Michelle Palmer, 36, during brunch at a five-star hotel. They were spotted together in the early hours of the next day, 5 July, on a public beach. In August, Dubai’s Court of First Instance found Acors guilty of indecent relations with an unmarried woman and of being drunk in a public place. The judgment was appealed last week and, although the Dubai Court of Appeal upheld the guilty verdicts, the three-month prison sentences were suspended. Acors and Palmer were each fined about £170 and ordered to leave the country.
Route to the case: Referral from an existing client. By coincidence, Crossley was contacted while in midair en route to a holiday in Dubai.
Thoughts on the case: ‘From a legal perspective, there was no case to answer. There was no DNA evidence to prove sex had taken place. No witnesses were called at court and my client refused to sign the confession the police had drawn up.
‘The process was not fair, but the ultimate outcome – a relatively small fine and deportation – was about right.’
Dealing with the media: ‘Sex sells stories and the media went bananas. I wanted to get my client’s words into the public domain, so I turned on the media tap but now can’t turn it off. The journalists I met were largely professional and courteous, with the notable exception of some who arrived totally ignorant about the case.’
Why become a solicitor? ‘I love music – I was a disc jockey for 25 years – and thought a legal background would be one way to start a career in music.’
Career low point: ‘I was three hours late for a hearing because my train had broken down. Hugely embarrassing.’
Career high point: ‘I recently settled an 18-month share sale case. My client had initially been offered £40,000. He received £2m.’