This would not have happened when I was a Court Clerk. I won’t say that I would not have allowed it, although as the Clerk I was in charge of the court (not the Judge – he/she was in charge of the law, but not the room, and not the usher), but because before information of any intimidation by relatives had come to my notice the Police officers attached to the court would have been dealing with it, and reporting it to me. Now Court Clerks are lower grades, junior and lacking confidence and often running several courts at once leaving the immediate operation to the usher. And many ushers are no longer retired police officers or formidable matrons but recruited according to diversity. Any family attempting this would, at the very least have been hauled before the Judge the first day for Contempt of Court, and probably later facing charges themselves of attempting to pervert the course of justice. And there is still time for that. But I digress. From the Daily Mail.
The mother of a 16-year-old raped by three Somali men today claimed 50 of their friends and family carried out a two-month campaign of intimidation throughout the trial.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect her daughter’s anonymity, says she was smuggled into court via a back door ‘as if she was the criminal’ to see the men jailed for a total of 29 years.
A group of more than 50 family members and friends gathered at Manchester Crown Court on Friday to protest and the girl’s mother says they deliberately intimidated her and her family.
The girl’s mother said on the day the trio were jailed Yussuf swore at them and another in the gang blew kisses while family members shouted at them.
The 49-year-old from Cheshire, also said she and her husband were constantly targeted during the two month trial. She said: ‘I was frightened throughout and my husband was frightened. There were so many of them and many of them would goad me when I walked past and deliberately try to intimidate us. On some occasions there were at least 50 in the courtroom – most likely many more on the day of the sentencing.
‘On one occasion, the judge said only 10 of the family members were allowed into the court but still another 20 ganged up in the corridors and deliberately made me and my husband feel intimidated. Sometimes we would come out and there would be even more outside. They would often not move out of the way when we tried to get past. On one occasion the police liaison officer we were with had to ask them to move. If she hadn’t have been there I don’t know what we would have done. . .
‘My daughter was too traumatised and only attended the court on the few days she had to give evidence, when thankfully there were less of them around. But I think it is awful that if she would have attended towards the end of the trial when more of them were there then she would have been subjected to this. It’s a disgrace and the system allows this to happen…”
Sentencing the trio at Manchester Crown Court last week, Mr Justice David Fernandez said the victim had suffered ‘great emotional and physical distress’ as a result of the ordeal.
During the trial, the court heard how the victim, then 16, got a bus to Manchester and met a fourth male, who she had previously exchanged text messages with after being introduced by a mutual friend.
He took the victim to the hotel to ‘meet his boys’ – where the pretence of a game of ‘hide and seek’ was suggested to the victim. Their victim was ‘naive’ when she met them and they saw her as ‘easy prey’ so lured her into a bedroom playing a game of ‘hide and seek’ before raping her in 2013
Muhyadeen Osman, Bilal Ahmed and Mowled Yussuf, all 20, gang raped the girl at the Victoria Park Hotel in Manchester, having spent the night before there for Eid.
Cash and a mobile phone were stolen from her handbag during the incident. DNA evidence linking all three culprits was found on towels and bedsheets recovered from the scene.
Today the authorities promised to investigate the claims of bullying at court.
A spokesman for Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service said: ‘We take the needs of victims, witnesses and their families extremely seriously. We take action to support them throughout their time in court including arranging for victims and their families to access the building by a separate entrance and ensuring that defendants’ families are seated in a separate part of the courtroom. Any complaint of intimidation will be treated very seriously and investigated urgently.’
It should have been ‘investigated’ while it was happening. They were sentenced at the Crown Court Manchester last week.
Osman, of Bowdon Avenue, Fallowfield; Ahmed, of Bexington Road, Whalley Range; and Yussuf, of Ravensoak Avenue, Levenshulme – have shown no remorse since they were found guilty of rape at a trial last year.
Bilal Ahmed, Mowled Yussuf and Muhyadeen Osman – look at those arrogant expressions.
Yussuf, also found guilty of sexual assault by penetration, was sentenced to ten years behind bars; Osman, who was also found guilty of an unconnected robbery to 12 years, and Ahmed to nine. Two others have never been identified.