Chelmsford sex gang trial: Pizza chef convicted of sex offences but taxi drivers cleared of rape

From the Essex Chronicle and the Echo

The jury has returned their verdicts as the seven and a half-week trial of five men accused of being part of a Chelmsford-based sex gang has drawn to a close today (December 16). Members of the jury heard closing speeches from prosecutor Christopher Paxton earlier this month, as well as speeches from the five barristers representing the defendants.

Yesterday (December 15), Mohammed Rostami, 37, of The Renown, Shoebury was found guilty of causing or inciting sexual exploitation of a child and three counts of supplying a controlled drug. Today, members of the jury found him guilty on two counts of sexual activity with a child. One count of rape was also dismissed after the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Amin Kaveh, 35, was found guilty yesterday morning of supplying a controlled class B drug, but was found not guilty of one count of assault by penetration and three counts of rape. Today, the jury found him not guilty of one count of causing or inciting prostitution for gain.

The jury found Mehdi Zare, 32, of Lupin Drive, Chelmsford, guilty of one count of sexual activity with a child, in the loft space above CM Pizza on Duke Street yesterday, one count of arranging or facilitating sexual exploitation of a child, and three counts of supplying a controlled drug.Today, they found him not guilty one count of sexual activity with a child, which was alleged to have happened at the Saracen’s hotel.

The jury acquitted Mehdi Khashi, from Rookes Crescent, Chelmsford, and Mohammed Hussein Zarei, of Delamere Road, Chelmsford of a single count of rape each.

Today’s convictions follow a linked investigation into drug dealing involving mephedrone.

Essex Police carried out search warrants on April 17, 2015 at three addresses in Cowpar Mews in Braintree, Renown in Shoeburyness and East Hanningfield Road in Chelmsford.

They seized mephedrone with a street value of around £10,000 from Rostami and Kaveh’s flat in Shoeburyness flat.

Items associated with drug dealing, such as drugs bags, mixing agent monosodium glutamate and mobile phones were found at all three addresses.

Rostami, Kaveh, Asadollah Zare and Ebrahim Zare were arrested and each charged with one count of conspiracy to supply mephedrone.

The court case ended in March 2016, however reporting restrictions have only now been lifted, December 16.

Asadollah Zare, 40, unemployed, formerly of Cowpar Mews, Braintree, denied the charge but changed his plea to guilty and was jailed for four years on March 21.

Ebrahim Zare, 42, unemployed, formerly of Cowpar Mews, Braintree, pleaded not guilty but was convicted and jailed for two years on March 21.

Rostami admitted conspiracy to supply mephedrone. Kaveh denied the charge but was convicted by a jury. 

Both are due to be sentenced on January 12, 2017.

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