The Dubai Court of First Instance earlier referred the 29-year-old Emirati father, Hamad S., and his 27-year-old Emirati girlfriend, Al Onoud A., to Rashid Hospital’s psychological ward to be examined by three doctors.
The three-doctor committee did not finish their evaluation report that was scheduled to be handed over to court this morning.
Presiding Judge Maher Salama Al Mahdi said the committee did not finish evaluating the mental stability and accountability of the defendants. He added that Al Onoud has been referred to Latifa Hospital for further evaluation and check ups.
Hamad and his six-month pregnant girlfriend, Al Onoud pleaded earlier that they were mentally unstable and unaware of their actions at the time when they committed the crime.
Prosecutors charged them with illegally grounding Hamad’s two daughters in a flat and torturing eight-year-old Wudeema (pictured left) to death and injuring seven-year-old Meera. The latter sustained 10 per cent permanent disability.
During Wednesday’s hearing jail guards did not bring the defendants from their detention in Al Rashidiya police station and produce them in courtroom three where they were scheduled to appear.
Meanwhile, the daughters’ mother, uncle and the forensic doctor were present to give their statements. The court waited more than 20 minutes and when the suspects were not brought from detention, the judge adjourned the case until August 8.
The judge said that the hearing was adjourned because the mental evaluation reports were not ready and the suspects were absent.
Earlier this month the court ordered that the two defendants be referred for psychological evaluation by the committee to determine whether the defendants were aware of their actions at the time of the incident.
Hamad denied torturing Wudeema to death. He also claimed that he took Meera to Rashid Hospital to treat her broken arm. He refuted the charge of unlawfully grounding them in his flat in International City.
Meanwhile, Al Onoud unexpectedly contended that Hamad did not do anything to his daughters. She said she bore the full responsibility alleging that she beat and tortured the sisters with hot water, electric wire and electrocuting them with a Taser gun.
“Why did they do it? Al Anoud was my best friend in high school. Even after my divorce, I remained in touch with her. We used to exchange text messages about when I could see my daughters without my ex-husband finding out,” Salma (girls’ mother) said on Wednesday.
Asked if she was aware of the accusations her ex-mother-in-law had made against her, she shot back saying: “I heard she said I burnt Wadeema with hot water when she was two, what mother in her right mind does that?” Salma asked tearfully.
“I trusted Al Anoud to take care of my girls; she was my best friend, why did she torture them? Why? Why did their father do this to them?”
Salma claimed she did not realise her daughter was missing because whenever she called to inquire about Wadeema and Meera her ex-husband or Al Anoud would say that they were at their grandparents’ place and vice versa if the grandparents asked about the girls.
Besides Wadeema’s mother and uncle, coroner Dr Ashraf Ebrahim Hassan was also slated to testify as an expert witness.
“To determine the cause of death we normally look at muscles, surrounding tissues and veins. Wadeema’s body decayed at such a rate that there was no tissue or muscles left for me to pinpoint the cause of death, I can’t even determine whether she was killed or not. This is a fact the defence lawyers are likely to use,” Dr Hassan said.
However Dr Hassan contended that the circumstances under which Wadeema died, along with the torture marks found on Meera’s body, and the confession of Hammad and Al Anoud point to no one but the two of them, never mind that Meera’s testimony might be enough to convict the couple.
“I examined Meera’s body, which was covered with burn marks, some older than others, there was a recent break in her right elbow, along with other injuries. She also looked to have been severely neglected, her hair was practically hacked at,” said the doctor.
On July 11, the court ordered Hammad and Al Anouod to undergo psychiatric evaluation after the defence lawyer claimed they were suffering from a mental disorder.
If found guilty the couple could face the firing squad.