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Thursday, May 26, 2022

Former Labour Peer Found Guilty Of Serious Sexual Assault

A Former Labour peer has been found guilty at Sheffield Crown Court of attempting to rape a young girl and sexually assaulting a boy under 11 in the early 1970s.

Ahmed, of Rotherham, was charged alongside his two older brothers, Mohammed Farouq, 71, and Mohammed Tariq, 65, but both were deemed unfit to stand trial. Appointed a life peer by Tony Blair, he resigned from the Labour party in 2013

A woman told the jury Ahmed attempted to rape her in 1973 and 1974, when the defendant was about 16 or 17 years old, but she was much younger. The ex-politician was also found guilty of a serious sexual assault against a boy under 11 in 1972. His two brothers were adjudged to have carried out the acts alleged.

The jury was also played a recording of a telephone call between the two complainants, made by the woman after she went to the police in 2016.

Tom Little QC, prosecuting, told the jury the call was prompted by the man contacting the woman by email saying: “I have evidence against that paedophile.”

Ahmed claimed the allegations were a “malicious fiction” but the prosecution said the call showed they were not “made up or concocted”.

In the recording, the woman said to the man: “What they did to you was utterly wrong and it’s time now to seek justice for the little boy who could not protect himself.”

Ahmed, who denied all the charges, was found guilty of two counts of attempted rape and one of buggery. Buggery was the legal term for the specific sexual assault at the time of the offence.

Rosemary Ainslie, head of the CPS’s special crime division, said: “By these verdicts the jury has clearly decided that no matter the delay between the offences and the trial, and the defences raised, they could be sure that the accounts of the victims were credible and true.

“One of these defendants held a position of power, influence and responsibility for some time in the House of Lords but this case clearly illustrates that where there is sufficient evidence, even in challenging cases, the CPS will bring a prosecution, put evidence before a jury and see rightful convictions.

“The case also shows our determination to admit problems, overcome them and pursue the case, and the court’s ability to ensure the defendants receive a fair trial and their victims see justice.”

A previous trial collapsed last year because of errors made by the prosecution. Ainslie conceded  “disclosure failures should not happen”, but the case showed the challenges faced in dealing with “huge amounts of information” and proper disclosure to the defence to allow a fair trial.

At the earlier hearing Judge Richardson noted some of the then alleged incidents happened in the late 1960s when Harold Wilson was prime minister, Lyndon Johnson was the US President and the Vietnam War was in full swing.

He resigned from the House of Lords in November 2020 after reading the contents of a conduct committee report which found he sexually assaulted a vulnerable woman who sought his help.

64-year-old, Ahmed, was the first peer to be recommended for expulsion but resigned before it could be implemented.

He was due to be sentenced on Wednesday afternoon.

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