Badir Al-Nazi, 24, is facing a life sentence for the killing of 20-year-old Mohammed Al-Araimi, who was stabbed to death in an alleyway near the world-famous department store.
He was convicted of murder in August, while a second defendant, Arseboon Dilbaro, was found guilty of wounding Mr Al-Araimi’s friend Nasser Kanoo in the same incident.
Both men were due to be sentenced at Inner London crown court on Friday morning, but Judge Usha Karu, the Recorder of Southwark, was forced to abandon the hearing due to an ongoing problem in the courthouse.
“The cells have been closed”, she explained. “There’s been an issue down there and we have not been able to have any custody cases at all.
“We are expecting remedial work this weekend, but the list office is being cautious and not listing cases with custody defendants next week.”
Members of the victim’s family had attended court for Friday’s hearing, as well as relatives of the defendants, with an hour-and-a-half of court time set aside for the case.
Mr Al-Araimi is the son of property magnate Sheikh Abdullah Al-Araimi, and was studying at King’s College London at the time of his death on December 5, 2019.
Al-Nazi – along with Dilbaro – attended Friday’s hearing via videolink from prison, but is adamant that he wants to be in the dock in court when he is sentenced.
“Mr Al-Nazi is extremely anxious”, said his barrister Brian St Louis QC. “He wants to be present, he feels that’s the only way he gets an appreciation, truly, of what’s going on in court and understands what’s happening.
“He wishes the court to be reminded of the fact English is not his first language. He would like the opportunity to go through in more detail everything that is going to be said by the prosecution and what is said on his behalf by the defence.”
Judge Karu agreed to “reluctantly” adjourn the sentencing hearing until September 23, when both defendants will be brought to court.
University friends Mr Al-Araimi and Mr Kanoo had been out to dinner when they were targeted by Al-Nazi and Dilbaro, in what prosecutors alleged was an attempted robbery for their luxury watches.
The attack in the alleyway near to Harrods was captured on CCTV, as Mr Al-Araimi was fatal stabbed.
Kuwaiti citizen Al-Nazi was found guilty at trial of murder and wounding Mr Kanoo with intent to do him grievous bodily harm, having already admitted possession of a knife.
Both men were acquitted of attempted robbery, and Dilbaro was acquitted of murder, manslaughter and having a knife but found guilty of wounding Mr Kanoo.