Scottish grandfather faces prison in Dubai after asking neighbours to turn down party music

The wife of a man facing prison in Dubai for telling neighbours to turn down their music speaks to ITV News' Louise Scott

A grandfather from Aberdeen is facing prison in Dubai for trespassing after he asked neighbours to turn down their party music.

Ian Mackellar, 75, was reportedly shouted at, pushed, and his 18-month-old granddaughter doused in drink when he asked the hosts to quieten down.

Mr Mackellar and his wife had been visiting their daughter and granddaughter, who had recently moved to Dubai, over the festive period.

On New Year's Eve, the daughter's neighbours were hosting a party, which Mr Mackellar said made it impossible for him and his family to sleep, and so shortly before 1am the Mackellars sent a text asking the music be turned down. It's alleged the music was then turned up instead.

Ian Mackellar, 75, who has been accused of trespassing on a neighbour's land. Credit: Detained in Dubai

According to Detained in Dubai, which is providing Mr Mackellar with legal assistance, the pensioner went to the neighbour's house to speak to the party hosts in person, taking his granddaughter with him so that his daughter could get some sleep before an early start the following morning.

On receiving no answer at the door, Mr Mackellar decided to walk down the open side path to the garden where he said he could see guests. He asked if the party could be moved indoors, but guests allegedly refused, shouted at him and his granddaughter and pushed him, causing him to stumble.

A number of the partygoers tried to diffuse the situation and reportedly held back other more aggressive guests.

Mr Mackellar was told to leave and he did, but on his way out the host allegedly ran up to him and threw a drink over the baby.

The 75-year-old threatened to contact the police, but his daughter did not want to cause tension with her new neighbours.

The neighbours who had hosted the party then filed a police complaint against Mr Mackellar on the grounds of trespassing, which has resulted in a travel ban and the possibility of several years in prison.

“It is standard practice in Dubai to preemptively file a police report when at risk of being reported”, CEO of Detained in Dubai, Radha Stirling, said in a statement.

Detained in Dubai provides legal help for foreigners involved in civil and criminal cases in the United Arab Emirates.

“The prosecution tends to side with whomever makes the first police report, so if someone is at risk of being reported themselves, they will quickly file against the actual victim. This is how people familiar with Dubai justice manipulate the system to their advantage,” Ms Stirling said.

She added it is "commonplace" for foreigners in this kind of situation to offer financial compensation to their accuser in order for them to drop the legal case.

“Authorities in Dubai need to crack down on this blatant abuse of criminal justice system. The practice is systemic and will require significant legislative change to stamp it out completely.”

Dubai authorities have yet to respond to ITV News' request for comment.

Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, is also believed to be assisting with his case.

It is not uncommon for foreigners to find themselves subjected to arrest and sometimes lengthy stints in prison after travelling to the UEA, which is a country with strict, and typically harshly implemented, laws.

Nigerian Dinchi Lar, 38, spent a "traumatising" three months in the United Arab Emirates' Al Awir Central Prison in 2022 after she posted a video of her time in airport immigration on social media, while a British football coach was given a 25-year sentence in a Dubai prison after being found with four bottles of CBD vape oil in 2021.

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