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Court of Appeal rules in Matt Joyce's Favour

Australian Courts Find Sunland Corporation mislead UAE Courtroom, leaving two businessmen Marcus Lee and Matt Jones stuck in Dubai under house arrest for three years so far, with a pending judgement and sentencing this month.

The UAE has been under the spotlight recently for judicial failings, in particular the imprisonment of British entrepreneurs Safi Qarash, Peter Margetts and Belgian Olivier Loeb, imprisoned for bounced cheques. American Zack Shahin has been held without charge for 4 years so far, breaching standard human rights agreements. These four men, amongst many others have been on hunger strike to protest against the lack of due process.

Meanwhile, Australian property developers Matt Joyce and Marcus Lee have been on bail but trapped in the UAE pending allegations of fraud, now proven false in the Australian Supreme Court.

Sunland Waterfront (BVI) and Others v. Prudentia Investments Pty Ltd and Others



“Today the Supreme Court of Victoria made findings of fact that Sunland Group Ltd has repeatedly misled the ASX and the Dubai Prosecutor.” said Detained in Dubai founder Radha Stirling.”

“Today‟s judgment proves what is widely known in United Arab Emirates business circles; that Matthew Joyce, Marcus Lee and their co-accused are completely innocent of any wrongdoing, and are the victims of a series of misrepresentations to the Dubai authorities by Sunland and its senior officers.”

“Today‟s referral of Sunland to ASIC by Justice Croft comes some five months after Detained in Dubai made a similar formal referral to ASIC on this matter. ASIC now has only 9 days to bring their report down and pass it on to Dubai authorities before judgment is handed down in the criminal trial.”

Stirling noted that while Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce has recently made enquires into the welfare of Joyce and Lee, that this did not amount to formal representation outlining Australian evidence that they are innocent.

“I call on Prime Minister Gillard to personally intervene in this mater and request the intervention of the absolute ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“The use of ASIC‟s coercive powers under the Corporations Law to investigate this very serious matter in full is an important step required to help bring Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee home. Judgement in the Dubai Criminal proceedings has now been set down for 17 June, and we are still waiting for ASIC‟s determination, which should be shared with the United Arab Emirates pursuant to Treaty between Australia and the State of the United Arab Emirates on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Stirling said, “Verdicts of „not guilty‟ are almost unheard of in the United Arab Emirates. Defence counsel for Matthew Joyce in Dubai has not been allowed a full defence such as not being allowed to call key defence witnesses. The ability to table ASIC findings prior to the Judgement date is one of our last hopes for a reprieve.”

Statement by Angus Reed

“In respect of today’s judgement in the matter of Sunland Waterfront (BVI) and Others v. Prudentia Investments Pty Ltd and Others, Mr Reed has made the following statement:

“While this judgement now conclusively documents our innocence, Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee are still detained in Dubai on the basis of evidence now 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 am particularly shocked at the findings in respect of Sunland’s communications with the Dubai Prosecutor. I hope that the judgment will bring an end to the nightmare which Matthew and Marcus have faced over the past three and a half years.

“I hope that Australian Government will now immediately convey these findings to the relevant Dubai authorities, so that Mathew and Marcus can come home.”

Statement by Prudentia Investments

A spokesperson for Prudentia Investments Pty Ltd today made the following statement:

“Prudentia Investments welcomes today’s decision and is relieved that this litigation has come to an end.

“In particular, we note Justice Croft’s findings as to the lack of credibility of Mr Brown and Mr Abedian as witnesses, and the clear findings that Sunland had no basis for bringing its claims.

“We welcome Justice Croft’s decision to refer this matter to ASIC, and hope that they can complete their investigation expeditiously.

“Prudentia calls on Foreign Minister Carr to now take steps to alert the Dubai authorities to these findings that Mr Joyce and Mr Lee are the innocent victims of a false complaint by Sunland.”

“Prudentia hopes that Sunland Group Ltd will now do the right thing and withdraw their complaint to the Dubai authorities, so that Matthew Joyce and Marcus Lee can come home as soon as possible.

About Detained in Dubai

Detained in Dubai is the only organisation assisting foreigners who require legal and practical advice or assistance in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Although our headquarters are in London, we have strong ties with Australia and offer internships to law students and graduates. Approximately half of our volunteers are based in Australia and we have assisted several Australian citizens who have been detained in UAE detention facilities or who have had their passport held as a result of a civil dispute, therefore leaving them detained within the UAE.

We have extensive dealings with embassies in the UAE and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK who have officially recognised us and recommend that British citizens contact us in the event of any legal or detention issues. Our main goal is to prevent foreigners being detained in the first place. This involves raising awareness and providing advice and negotiation assistance at the preliminary stages, as often detention is the result of a business, landlord and tenant or other civil dispute. Once someone has been detained, we assist with providing legal representation, advice, and support across all areas, including assisting people after release from detention with counselling and re-assimilation into society.

Our organisation assists people from the moment they contact us right through to their safe return home, following a release. We deal with most legal issues, ranging from airport arrests and public decency offences (kissing, alcohol etc.) to debt, bounced cheques, employment disputes, business partner disputes and other civil offences that are considered indictable in the UAE and often warrant lengthy prison sentences.


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