Added by David Sandercock on June 8, 2011
A Brisbane woman who was imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates could sue the commonwealth for failing to inform her that a rape claim could result in her spending time in jail.
29-year old Alicia Gail was jailed in a UAE prison for charges of adultery and drinking without a license as a result of filing a complaint for allegedly being drugged and raped by three or four of her colleagues at the Le Meridien Al Aqah Beach Resort, in Fujairah. She was pardoned in March 2009.
Gail has been given leave to take legal action against the resort where she worked as a salon manager.
On Tuesday she was also granted leave to sue the Australian government following a claim of consular oversight by her Maurice Blackburn legal team in the Brisbane Supreme Court. Ms Gail claims she was told by a consular official that she could not be charged with adultery if she filed a rape complaint against married men.
Michelle James, legal team principal, said there were “strong grounds” for examining the way the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) dealt with Ms Gail’s case: “The embassy’s deficient advice led to Ms Gali spending a hellish eight months in prison… She should have been told, as a bare minimum, of the local laws that apply in the UAE,… We say no advice was given at all.”
A spokesperson for the DFAT said the department would not comment on the case: “The Department will defend this claim. As the matter is now before the Supreme Court of Queensland it is not appropriate to go into further detail.”