Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Dizaei loses conviction appeal

Aliz Dizaei was sacked by the Met Police after disciplinary proceedings

Former police chief Ali Dizaei has lost his appeal against his conviction for misconduct and perverting the course of justice.

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London dismissed a challenge brought by the ex-Scotland Yard commander, who was found guilty for a second time at a retrial in February last year. The decision was announced by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge.

Iranian-born Dizaei, 50, from Acton, west London, had argued that his conviction was "unsafe", but Lord Judge said the conviction "was and remains safe".

Dizaei was first convicted of framing young businessman Waad al-Baghdadi in a street row in 2010. He was jailed for four years, but the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal a year later. After the second trial he received a three-year prison sentence at London's Southwark Crown Court. This was reduced by the 15 months he had already spent behind bars and he has been released.

During the recent hearing of his appeal, Dizaei's QC Stephen Riordan argued that his conviction was "unsafe", submitting that the judge at the second trial made an "error of law" when he refused to admit certain "bad character" evidence relating to Mr al-Baghdadi.

Opposing the appeal, Peter Wright QC, for the Crown, told the court: "Here there was no error by the judge in the exercise he undertook. The decision was not wrong in law."

Dismissing the appeal, Lord Judge said that the decision about the credibility of Waad al-Baghdadi and Dizaei "although crucial to the outcome of the case, fell to be assessed in the light of a substantial body of further evidence which was available to assist the jury to make their assessment". He added: "This was not a case, as it is sometimes expressed, of one person's word against another. In truth there was formidable evidence against the appellant."

After the ruling, Daniel Godden, partner at Hodge Jones and Allen, the law firm representing Dizaei, said: "We are disappointed that the Court of Appeal did not hold Ali Dizaei's conviction to be unsafe." But he added that the firm had "potentially discovered fresh evidence" relating to Mr al-Baghdadi "which the Court of Appeal did not consider and the case will now be referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission".

Gaon Hart, senior Crown advocate for the CPS special crime and counter terrorism division, said: "We welcome today's decision and the clarification it provides of the legal position. Mr Dizaei has been convicted by two separate juries for his conduct on that night and we hope that this concludes the matter.

"At the heart of this case was the mistreatment of a member of the public by a very senior police officer and Dizaei's attempt to abuse his position of trust to cover up his actions. However, no-one is above the law and those who abuse their position and betray the trust the public place in them should expect to be brought to justice".

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