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Jury deliberate case of two men (and two women) accused of abusing Huddersfield grooming victim
I read reports from the local newspaper, the Huddersfield Examiner, of the first three days of this trial. Then last week there was a brief mention of the defence of one defendant:-
Mohammed Akram told jurors that the teenager convinced him she was aged 18 before and after they had 'consensual sex' on a number of occasions in a house in Huddersfield.
The prosecution's case is that he first sexually abused the complainant when she was 12 years old, after she had been groomed and sexually abused by other men, and then repeatedly raped her in a house a few years later.
He accused the complainant of wrongly including him in the list of her abusers, adding: "She’s done it for a reason, she’s got a motive behind it. "Why would she go back to someone who’s abused her at the age of 12 . . . ?"
Also during Friday's hearing, the jury found Akram's co-accused Usman Khalid not guilty of one count of child abduction on the judge's direction. Akram, previously of Springdale Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, denies five counts of rape, sexual assault, abducting a child and trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Khalid, 31, of Brook Street, Lockwood, Huddersfield, denies sexual assault.
Shahnaz Malik, 57, of St Anne’s Avenue, Ainley Top , Huddersfield, and Naveeda Habib, 40, of Prince Wood Lane, Birkby , Huddersfield, both deny child cruelty.
Due to a reporting restriction, some parts of the evidence cannot be reported.
According to the summary this defence evidence was given.
A former ‘best friend’ of the complainant gave evidence on Wednesday. She cannot be named in order to protect the complainant’s anonymity. The witness said she only learned about the complainant’s allegations about Akram when she read about them in the Huddersfield Examiner over the last few weeks. She said she then contacted Akram’s defence team and was put in contact with Mr Lakha on Saturday.
The allegations against (Shahnaz Malik) and therefore her evidence cannot be reported in full for legal reasons. The same rule applies to the other female defendant (Naveeda Habib).
Khalid said he ... volunteered for Streetwise - a Thornton Lodge-based community project aimed at young people and crime prevention, particularly drugs and gangs.He said he worked on the project most evenings and weekends and helped out with music....Ms Batts has read a statement made by a member of Streetwise, which described Khalid as a ‘law-abiding young individual’ and having a ‘key role in developing our crime prevention resources’.
The Jury went out on Thursday, the Judge has said he will now accept a majority verdict but the jury has asked questions one of which the Judge has answered, the other not answered yet and of which neither can be reported about. There is no more news from the court reporter late this afternoon (Monday 20th)
It all sounds a bit vague. But the very fact that the court is allowing court reporters to say that the trial is on-going, BUT we can't report this, or that, to protect the witnesses identity, or the complainants identity or another good reason, and the newspaper has gone to the trouble to explain the general principles of what they can and can't report, and why and why not, and some of the ethics of their own decisions, in the light to Tommy Robinson's committal for contempt at the very same court last year, suggests that the Huddersfield Examiner (if no-one else) has taken on board some of the public concern that the often valid reporting restrictions are merely yet another part of the vast cover-up that has gone on for years.