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New inquest ordered into holidaymaker's death in Dubai

Published 20/07/2015

Lee Bradley Brown died in solitary confinement at a police station prison in Dubai
Lee Bradley Brown died in solitary confinement at a police station prison in Dubai

A fresh inquest has been ordered into the death of a British holidaymaker in Dubai four years ago.

Lord Justice Bean and Chief Coroner Judge Peter Thornton said that it was necessary and desirable in the interests of justice to have another investigation in the case of Lee Bradley Brown.

Mr Brown, 39, died in solitary confinement at a police station prison in April 2011, five days after he arrived in the country and booked into a room at the Burj al Arab Hotel where he had an argument with a chambermaid.

She and other hotel staff alleged that Mr Brown, who was from Dagenham, east London, attacked her in his room, dragged her out and tried to throw her over the sixth floor balcony.

Mr Brown denied this and told the Dubai police authorities that he believed she was in the room to steal from him. Although he had been abusive to her and had pushed her out of the room, he had not assaulted her as alleged.

At the inquest, in October 2013, the then senior coroner for the area of East London, adopted the findings of an experienced forensic pathologist that the medical cause of death was unascertained and recorded an open conclusion.

Mr Brown's mother, Doris Shafi, applied to London's High Court for this to be quashed and to have another inquest conducted by the new senior coroner for the East London area.

Her counsel, John Lofthouse, said there was insufficiency of inquiry by the coroner in the collection of evidence, in calling a limited number of witnesses and in the questioning of those who were called.

He also said there was irregularity in the proceedings because of the coroner's decision to conduct the inquest without a jury and in admitting some written evidence from Dubai.

Today, Lord Justice Bean said the fact that there was no evidence of a violent death did not mean that all questions had been answered. They were not.

"The medical cause of death and the mechanical cause of death - how the deceased came by his death - remained unexplained.

"All reasonable steps should have been taken to try and secure the 'attendance' of relevant witnesses to these issues."

He concluded that more could have been done and should have been done to seek the attendance in one way or another of relevant witnesses from Dubai, and the coroner was wrong to admit the written evidence without making further inquiry.

The question of whether there should be a jury would be a matter for the new coroner.

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