When British man Jamie Harron (27) allegedly touched a man’s hip to avoid spilling his drink in Dubai’s Rock Bottom Bar, he was triggering a nightmare chain of events that would probably change his life forever.
The electrician was on a short stopover in the emirate after working in Afghanistan and was, by all accounts, having a wonderful time - right up until the fateful event.
Mr Harron, from Stirling, was arrested for the incident after it was reported to police. As a result, he lost his job and was told he might be languishing in prison for years.
There was a glimmer of hope though. The businessman who reported the incident dropped his complaint when learning of the potential punishment in store for Jamie Harron. But sadly, this wasn’t the end of the matter.
Rob Dolbear is Managing Director of relocation specialist HCR, and has many years’ experience of helping clients’ employees move overseas for work. He advises caution to those upping sticks from the UK for far flung corners of the world.
“In Dubai, you won’t necessarily escape prosecution just because the so-called victim drops their complaint against you,” he says. “This might have been the case here in the UK, but Mr Harron still faced a very long prison sentence for his alleged crime, if found guilty.”
As it turned out, Jamie Harron avoided a spell in jail when the emirate’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum intervened and ordered for the case to be dismissed. And the hapless traveller returned home to Scotland this week.
“This was an incredibly fortuitous turn of events, and is not necessarily typical,” adds Rob. “Our role as relocation experts is to prepare the employees of our clients - ensuring their new-found home is a safe and comfortable one. And that means taking care of much more than just the logistical process.
“Moving abroad for work is a big step for anyone - no matter how confident they feel about it. The idea of being surrounded by new sights, sounds, accents and cultures may seem exciting - but preparing for such a step is crucially important. Whenever we help someone relocate, we ensure they research their new country - and particularly its culture and laws.
“Knowing and understanding a nation’s history and traditions will make a real difference in terms of a successful location. It can seem like a bit of an after-thought, but I have no doubt if and when Mr Harron returns to Dubai, he’ll be very aware of the ‘dos and don’ts’. At HCR, our role is to make quite sure our clients’ employees don’t have to learn the hard way…”