Saudi prince will not give evidence in murder trial

Image caption,
The prince admits killing his servant but denies murder

A Saudi prince who beat his servant to death in a central London hotel will not give evidence in the murder trial at the Old Bailey.

Bandar Abdulaziz, 32, was found beaten and strangled in the Landmark Hotel, Marylebone, on 15 February. His body also had bite marks, the jury heard.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud will not be called to give evidence, John Kelsey-Fry QC, defending, said.

Mr al Saud, 34, denies murder but admits manslaughter.

Death penalty

He also denies one count of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Mr Kelsey-Fry will also not call any other witness to give evidence, the court heard.

Earlier prosecutor Bobbie Cheema said: "Homosexuality is illegal in Saudi Arabia and carries the death penalty which is still applied in some cases.

"The country in which any alleged acts took place would have little bearing on the likelihood of prosecution as the Saudi legal system is based on the Sharia law which is considered to be universal.

Image caption,
Bandar Abdulaziz was found beaten and strangled in the Landmark Hotel

"There have been cases where the family have pushed for the most severe penalty, particularly where the individual is thought to have brought shame on the family."

She added that the defendant could be at risk from his own family or from the victim's family, "although as he is a member of the Saudi royal family this risk would be reduced".

But Mr Kelsey-Fry QC, who has previously denied suggestions that the victim and the defendant were in a gay relationship, said the Saudi law as described in court would apply "if it were the case that the defendant had engaged in homosexuality".

The trial continues.

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