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The British man who was sentenced to 25 years in a Dubai jail for possessing CBD vape oil has had his sentence cut to 10 years following an appeal.
Billy Hood, 25, was convicted on drug trafficking with intent to supply after the oil was found in his car and was handed the lengthy sentence last month.
However, today at an appeal court in Abu Dhabi his sentence was reduced to 10 years after it recognised he had ‘unintentionally possessed’ the drugs and had ‘no intent to supply’, the Daily Mail reports.
The judgement was made just days after the United Arab Emirates announced it would be introducing new laws that would allow first-offender foreigners caught with drugs to be deported rather than locked up.
The laws are set to be brought in next year and may not be applied retroactively - meaning those who are already serving sentences for drug related crimes may still have to finish their sentence.
Detained in Dubai, an organisation that helps foreigners arrested in Dubai, said the court today ‘sentenced him to ten years in prison, despite new legislation eliminating prison sentences for foreigners found in possession and allowing for deportation instead'.
Detained in Dubai CEO Radha Stirling said police had been ‘extremely negligent’ when arrested football coach Hood.
“There was no evidence whatsoever of trafficking and none of selling. Dubai's overzealous prosecution has ruined this young man's life and put him and his family through hell.”
She went on to say Dubai police had ‘forced’ Hood ‘to confess with promises of his imminent release’.
She added: “They turned what would have been a small possession case at worst into a federal case that has seen him locked up for almost a year and facing a life sentence in Abu Dhabi.
“He was given both a carrot and a stick, so some prosecutor could get his dues. It's all too familiar a story.”
Hood’s heartbroken mum Breda Guickion, who has been campaigning for his release, said after the ruling: “It's very confusing... How can this have escalated as far as it has?
“I tried not to get my hopes up for today as I knew something like this might happen, but I now have to face the possibility that I may not see my son before Christmas and words cannot express how broken I am feeling.”
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