It has not been a good summer for Michelle Palmer and Vince Acors. The couple’s seaside tryst has turned into a courtroom drama complete with medical evidence and appeals. The two British citizens, despite the best efforts of their lawyers, and despite the black-eye it will give to Dubai’s tourist industry, have been sentenced to three months in prison. Their lawyer claims that an appeal is possible. The three month sentence (followed by immediate deportation) is much lighter than the six years possible under the emirate’s laws.
If this was an isolated incident, perhaps caused by an over-zealous prosecutor, it wouldn’t be more than tabloid fodder. However, as Jerry pointed out here at Gadling a couple of weeks ago, this is not an isolated case. Even carrying the natural, over the counter sleep aid Melatonin is reason enough to get you in trouble with the authorities in Dubai.
Palmer and Acors will be in jail for three months. Then, they’ll be deported, and most likely get their 15 minutes of fame. Perhaps Palmer can even turn the whole experience into a book deal or sell the rights to a movie studio. Dubai, on the other hand, will have to overcome the negative press it received from this case, and all the other cases that this one has brought attention too.