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Grooverider Admits Dubai Pot Possession Charge

Author: Jonty Skrufff
Friday, 1 February 2008
Drum & Bass icon Grooverider appeared in court in Dubai this week for the first time following his November arrest on drugs charges and admitted being in possession of 2.16 grams of marijuana.

The Radio 1 star was detained when customs officials at Dubai's international airport searched him as he arrived to play a DJ gig and has been locked up for over two months.

'I searched him and he had nothing illegal on him, but when I searched his bag I found marijuana in a plastic bag inside a pocket of his jeans,' a customs officer told the court, 'When I asked him about it he said it was marijuana and that it was for his personal use and he had forgotten it was in his trousers.' (7 Days, UAE)

Grooverider is almost certain to receive the four-year minimum sentence meted out to travellers found to have even traces of drugs in their bloodstream though has hired local lawyer Mohammad Al-Reda to fight his case. Mr Al-Reda previously represented millionaire US producer Dallas Austin who was caught with pills and a gram of coke in 2006 and helped negotiate a pardon for Austin which saw him released just four hours after being sentenced to four years. The New York Times reported that a bizarre consortium of US senators and pop stars including Quincy Jones and Lionel Richie helped negotiated the pardon, prompting a cynical response from the Sunday Times in an article on Dubai this year.

'Instead of possibly spending years in a Dubai prison (the UAE has some of the strictest laws in the world), after a few calls from the right places, he (Austin) was set free,' said the Times, 'That money sometimes bends morality is no surprise in a place where it's said, jokingly, that every third woman is a prostitute.'

Ominously for Grooverider, however, influential local newspaper 7 Days published a heavily critical letter about the DJ, which directly raised Dallas Austin's pardon.

'So the 'big' trial has begun. Starring a DJ who is billed as 'famous' and his lawyer who got the dubiously named Dallas Austin off of drugs charges in 2006,' wrote 'anti-drug Baron'.

'DJ: 'Back home I would not even get prosecuted' - Well Groovie baby you ain't back home. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence would know what the rules and regs (sic) are here. Ignorance is no defence,' he sneered. 'So I hope that this 'famous' guy is made an example of and given the strictest sentence.'

And six months previously an Italian tourist was jailed for four years for possessing 0.01 grams of hashish, receiving no mercy from the Dubai court.

'I didn't intend to bring the drugs; I forgot it in the inner pocket of my jacket," the 24 year old defendant told the court, "I forgot it in my clothes before coming here. I am so sorry for that," he added.