Mr Imran Khan QC leading Ms Chloe Gardner of Nexus Chambers acted for Lord Nazir Ahmed in relation to historical sexual allegations. IKP also represented his brother Mr Farouq Mohammed in relation to similar charges and instructed Mr Icah Peart QC of Garden Court Chambers. Another of Lord Ahmed's brothers, Mr Tariq Mohammed, also faced similar charges and was represented by Mr Tayab Ali of Bindman's Solicitors who instructed Ms Katy Thorne QC of Doughty Street Chambers. Both of Lord Ahmed's brothers had been deemed unfit to stand trial because they were both found to be under a disability.
The trial started on 15 February 2021 at Sheffield Crown Court. The jury was selected and sworn in on 16 and 17 February 2021 but had to be discharged on Monday 22 February 2021. After many days of legal argument, the Recorder of Sheffield, who was the trial judge, delivered his ruling on the 8th March 2021 (reported on the 9th March 2021) that the case could not proceed having acceded to submissions on behalf of the defence that it would be an abuse of process for the trial to continue and that it should be permanently stayed. The Judge did so on the basis that a stay was necessary to protect the integrity of the criminal justice system. The main argument was advanced by Mr Imran Khan QC and Ms Chloe Gardner on behalf of Lord Nazir Ahmed, Mr Icah Peart QC on behalf of Tariq Mohammed and Ms Katy Thorne QC on behalf of Farouq Mohammed associated themselves with those submissions and made further submissions referable to the defendants they represented.
In his judgment, the Judge stated that there appeared to have been ‘a massive and fundamental failure to exercise the...disclosure regimen on the part of the prosecution. In this case that may only be characterised as shameful…all manner of issues and concerns have been raised by this material, as has been made clear in Mr Khan’s submissions.’ He stated that 'the schedule of when material was disclosed reveals a very worrying state of affairs. The trial stopped. It could not go on fairly. It sabotaged the trial.' The Judge commented that the Prosecution had asked for 'one more bite of the cherry' and that in his view 'that is completely unacceptable in this case, which was antique to start with. It is not a strong prosecution case and it has proceeded at a pace which can only be described as bordering glacial.'
The Judge went on to say the crown’s ‘egregious’ conduct was ‘nothing short of disgraceful'. The judge stated that ‘enough is enough’ - that the case was 'irremediably damaged and degraded to the level where I must now intervene and put a stop to the agony of it continuing...it is my intention to grant a stay of the indictment.'
The Judge stated that he had ‘never taken such a course as this ever before’.
On Tuesday 9 March 2021, the Prosecution indicated that they intend to appeal the decision.
Further reports on the matter can be found below: