‘Don’t believe her, she’s a slag’ – disruptive man’s shocking claim to jurors leads to collapse of rape trial
From the Stoke Sentinel
Disruptive Waqas Mahmood has been jailed after he derailed a trial by telling jurors not to believe a witness and to find the defendant not guilty.
The 27-year-old sat in the public gallery during the case at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court and was disruptive as the complainant gave evidence, waving his arms and calling her a liar. He was spoken to a number of times by the usher and more than one member of the jury complained to the usher that they had found him distracting. And as the jurors were being escorted out the building the defendant told them not to believe a word the complainant said and added: “You will find him not guilty tomorrow.”
The jurors returned the next day and more than one felt uneasy as a result of what had happened. They were discharged. The defendant was arrested. He accepted he used the words alleged but said it was just a conversation he was having with his partner’s mother.
The jury was discharged and a date was set for a retrial but the case was eventually dropped and the defendant was found not guilty.
Mahmood, of Knightsbridge Way, Tunstall, pleaded guilty to doing an act intending to pervert the course of public justice. Now Mahmood has been jailed for 14 months at Stafford Crown Court.
Jailing Mahmood, Judge Michael Chambers QC said: “ . . . I am quite satisfied this was a determined and sustained effort by you to derail a serious criminal trial which succeeded. It calls for a sentence of immediate prison.”