Air hostess freed on Dubai drug charge faces new appeal

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A British air hostess, who spent 17 months in a Dubai jail on drugs charges before being cleared, was waiting yesterday to hear if she could finally come home after prosecutors failed to overturn her acquittal on appeal.

Katherine Jenkins, 31, had hoped to return to the UK last month when a court cleared her of being part of a gang of drug smugglers. But she was ordered to stay in the United Arab Emirates when the prosecution appealed. Yesterday her solicitors were hoping that prosecutors would now release her passport but this could be delayed if they appeal again to a higher court.

Ms Jenkins, of Neath, south Wales, who insisted that 50 grams of cocaine discovered in her Dubai flat belonged to another person, faced up to 10 years in jail.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "There is the possibility that the appeal could go to the Court of Cassation. The prosecution has 30 days to lodge an appeal to that court which is the highest court that it can go to."

During her enforced stay in the UAE, Miss Jenkins' father Vivian, 53, died of an overdose of aspirin and paracetamol, aggravated by heart disease. In February, a coroner in Neath recorded a verdict of misadventure on the steel worker who had been "subject to considerable worry" due to his daughter's detention.

Three of Miss Jenkins' co-defendants were convicted. An Australian was sentenced to five years while two British men received four-year terms for drug possession and use. Another British woman was earlier sentenced to life, reduced to 10 years on appeal.