Middle East Civil and Criminal Justice Specialists
Matt Joyce Returns to Australia at last
We are delighted to announce that after five years battling the judicial system in Dubai, Matt has finally won his Appeal in Dubai and returned to Australia.
We are happy to have supported the campaign to release Matt Joyce and hope that the findings in this case will lead to further judicial reviews in the UAE. It is clear that flaws exist in the process that allowed Mr Joyce to be imprisoned and placed under house arrest for so long, only to be let free, years later.
The Australian Court findings of the same matter, showed the need for the UAE evidentiary and judicial process to be carefully reviewed and an action plan in place to ensure checks and balances are created. Without such changes, the process will remain unreliable and the innoncent will continue to be punished.
Mr Joyce was fortunate to have so much support for his release, including Australian Members of Parliament and even Prince Charles. However, concern lingers though for victims of similar injustices who are unable to attract so much support. Mr Joyce without such support, could have been incarcerated for the remainder of his life, like many other victims of judicial caprice.
We wish Matt and Angela the best for the future!
Radha Stirling, Detained in Dubai
The Australian Reports:
ON the last night of their five-year ordeal in Dubai, Australian businessman Matthew Joyce and his wife, Angela, invited friends over to their house for a farewell drink.
The champagne corks had barely popped on Monday when tears began to flow as it all sank in. A man condemned a month earlier almost certainly to die in jail, was about to taste freedom.
“It was a really, really emotional night for us and for those close friends who shared the journey with us,” Mr Joyce told The Australian yesterday after landing home in Melbourne, ending his years of detention in Dubai on false bribery charges.
Ms Joyce admitted that neither of them had slept a wink on their last night and even at Dubai airport she still had her heart in her stomach.
“You are nervous because you have waited for that day for so long – I had dreamed for five years about being on that plane holding Matt’s hand and suddenly here it was,” she said.
Their return closes the book on a saga that began when Mr Joyce and former colleague Marcus Lee were charged with bribery after a property deal in Dubai soured.
The case triggered the intervention of two prime ministers and four foreign ministers as well as Prince Charles, especially after they were declared innocent in a parallel case last year in the Victorian Supreme Court.
Last month the appeals court in Dubai accepted that the evidence given against the men by Gold Coast developer Sunland was false and that Mr Joyce would not have to serve his sentence of 10 years and a fine of $25 million – an amount that would have ensured that he never left jail.
Mr Lee was acquitted earlier this year and the appeals court upheld the acquittal last month.
Supported yesterday by his wife, who urged him to smile during his press conference, a nervous Mr Joyce said it had been a nightmare for his family.
“Throughout our ordeal we’ve always maintained my innocence. Now seven judges and three courts in two countries have finally found me innocent. Justice has finally been served,” he said reading from a statement. Mr Lee is still in Dubai awaiting the results of blood tests for his dog, Dudley, so that he can bring the pet home. Mr Joyce thanked the government for its help and singled out Liberal senator Helen Kroger and former prime minister Malcolm Fraser for keeping up pressure on the government. He declined to say whether the Coalition had done more than the previous Labor government.
Win in Australia for Matthew Joyce
The Court of Appeal today dismissed an appeal by Sunland Water Front (BVI) Limited and Sunland Group Limited (‘Sunland’) against the decision of the trial judge refusing its claim for damages following a land transaction in Dubai. The Court of Appeal also dismissed Sunland’s appeal against the decision issuing an anti-suit injunction that prevents Sunland from pursuing a similar cliam in Dubai and its appeal against the decision. However, Matt Remains under house arrest in Dubai.
The Court of Appeal has today rules in favour of Matt Joyce’s innocence and although his innocence has been proven through judicial process, Matt remains under house arrest in the UAE.
In respect of today’s judgement by the Victorian Court of Appeal in the matter of Sunland Waterfront (BVI) and Others v. Prudentia Investments Pty Ltd and Others, Mr Angus Reed has made the following statement: “While this judgement yet again conclusively documents our innocence, Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee are still detained in Dubai on the basis of allegations repeatedly proved to be false.
“While this litigation has taken a huge toll on my family and me personally and professionally, my sole concern going forward is ensuring the safe return of Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee.
“I particularly note the repeated findings that his Honour Justice Croft did not err in his original judgement.”
“I hope that the judgment will bring an end to the nightmare which Matthew and Marcus have faced over the past four years.
“I hope that the Australian Government will now immediately convey these findings to the relevant Dubai authorities, so that Mathew and Marcus can both come home.”
Mr Reed noted that the judgment makes it clear once again that neither he nor Mr Joyce had had done anything improper at any stage of the relevant transactions, and that the entire matter has been concocted by Sunland since its inception.
Matthew Joyce made a statement as follows:
“Today’s judgment is very welcome news to me and my family. The Court of Appeal has emphatically rejected all of Sunland’s appeals.
The Court of Appeal said that aspects of the evidence David Brown gave to the authorities in Dubai was “fundamentally misleading”,1 that he made a “series of untrue statements”,2 engaged in “untruthful exaggerations”3 and that his witness statement in Australia was “directly contrary to a number of statements he made to the prosecutors in Dubai”.4 The Court said the trial judge made no error in criticising the credibility of Sunland’s witnesses.
The Court also said that there was no error in the trial judge’s finding that Sunland commenced this case for the collateral purpose of defending its commercial reputation and protecting the position of its executive, David Brown, I remain under house arrest while I focus on my appeal in Dubai. I will continue my efforts to bring the findings of the Australian courts to the attention of Dubai and ask that the Australian Government use every means at its disposal to help me in that effort.”