A British woman is facing jail in Dubai after she says she witnessed her friends fighting with a Swedish man who became enraged that the men had taken selfies of him while he was asleep.

A group of men got into a fight with a Swedish tech executive in a hotel lobby after they had been at a brunch at Dusty's restaurant in Dubai's International Financial Centre district.

Ex-pat Asa Hutchinson, originally from Chelmsford, Essex, said she saw the fight and, according to her mother, picked the man's glasses from the floor and "put them in the bin because she was worried someone would step on them".

Hutchinson's friends have now returned to the UK while she has been left to face charges of assault and theft after the man accused her of having stolen his glasses.

This could mean a jail sentence for Hutchinson, an account manager for a transportation company, who claimed that the man became angry when her friends took selfies of him while he was asleep on a sofa.

Hutchinson says that the Swedish technology company executive, in his 50s, began punching her friends.

"The man woke up and began punching the boys. I heard the commotion and came back to see what was going on," she said according to the Mail Online.

The group left unaware the unnamed man had contacted police. In Dubai it is illegal to take photos of someone without their consent.

Her mother, Lucie Harrison, defended her "sensible" daughter, saying she is "absolutely and completely innocent".

"She was there at the time but all she did was pick some glasses up off the floor and put them in the bin because she was worried someone would step on them," she said.

Police used the reservations list of the hotel restaurant to locate the men who later visited a police station. They were able to get their passports back by paying cash deposits then flew back to the UK.

Hutchinson added: "It is so unfair, I was not involved, I just happened to be there, but the police are not interested in anything I have to say. Once the man made his complaint it was taken as fact. I can't go to jail, I couldn't cope."

In October, Briton Jamie Harron was recently allowed to return home from Dubai after avoiding a three-month jail term for touching a man's hip.