Britisher Ian MacKeller Faces Legal Woes in Dubai


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Ian MacKeller, a 75-year-old British grandfather, is currently in a legal predicament in Dubai, facing potential jail time on accusations of trespass. The incident unfolded during his visit to the UAE over the festive period, where he intended to spend time with his daughter, who had recently relocated to the country, and babysit her young child.

Ian MacKeller

New Year’s Eve Turned Bad

The trouble began on New Year’s Eve when his daughter’s neighbours threw a lively party. Knowing that his daughter would be working in the early hours, the family requested the host to be considerate of the noise. Despite a 1 am message asking to lower the volume, the music persisted. Frustrated, Ian MacKeller decided to address the issue himself, taking his infant granddaughter along to allow his daughter some much-needed rest.

Upon knocking on the neighbour’s door and receiving no response, Ian MacKeller noticed an open side path leading to the garden, where the party was in full swing. He approached and asked if the festivities could be moved indoors. Instead of cooperation, he claimed that partygoers became aggressive, pushing him and shouting. During the commotion, his granddaughter’s bottle was knocked to the ground.

Ian MacKeller

Attempting to leave the scene, Ian MacKeller alleged that the host pursued him to the street, yelling loudly and even throwing her drink over him and the baby. Shocked by the incident, Ian MacKeller wanted to report it to the police, but his daughter, fearing tension with her neighbours, insisted against it.

Now, the situation has taken a drastic turn, with the party host filing a police complaint against Ian MacKeller for trespass. This has led to a travel ban, preventing him from returning to Scotland as planned on January 10. Stranded in the UAE, he is separated from his family and unable to receive necessary medical treatment.

Radha Stirling, CEO of Detained in Dubai, is collaborating with Andrew Bowie, MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine, to secure Ian MacKeller’s release. Stirling expressed her dismay over the situation, highlighting the severity of the consequences resulting from a seemingly innocuous request.

“This is a very sad situation. Nobody would ever imagine that a polite request to turn the music down would result in a travel ban and criminal prosecution. Again and again, we are reminded that a simple trip to Dubai can indeed be a one-way ticket,” said Stirling. She emphasized that if the case isn’t dropped, Mr. MacKeller could end up in prisons known for human rights violations, an outcome he certainly does not deserve.

Ian MacKeller

Stirling shed light on the peculiarities of Dubai’s legal system, stating that it’s common practice to preemptively file a police report to manipulate the system when at risk of being reported. She explained, “The prosecution tends to side with whoever makes the first police report, so if someone is at risk of being reported themselves, they will quickly file against the actual victim.”

Moreover, Stirling highlighted the unfortunate routine of foreigners in such situations offering financial compensation to their accusers to get the case dropped. As the legal battle unfolds, the case of Ian MacKeller serves as a stark reminder of the potential legal pitfalls that individuals may encounter during what is intended to be a routine trip abroad.

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