Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Named and shamed: Six men who were banned from approaching girls under 18 amid fears of grooming are allowed to be identified

  • Men from Birmingham are Omar Ahmed, 27, Sajid Hussain, 40, Mohammed Anjam, 31, Naseem Khan, 30, Mohammed Javed, 33, and Alam Shah, 36
  • They have been banned from approaching any girl under age of 18
  • High Court heard three of them found in hotel with girl in care, 17
  • Landmark ruling is despite police not having enough evidence to convict 
  • Yet police refuse to release the men's photos - to protect their families
Six men have been named, shamed and barred from contacting underage girls in a landmark anti-exploitation case - despite there not being enough evidence to convict them of a crime.
The injunction was won by authorities in Birmingham today against the six men - three of whom were found with a 'vulnerable' girl in a hotel room.
They can be named as Omar Ahmed, 27, Sajid Hussain, 40, Mohammed Anjam, 31, Naseem Khan, 30, Mohammed Javed, 33, and Alam Shah, 36, after a judge ruled it was in the public interest for their identities to be released.
That was despite the objections of West Midlands Police - who despite applying for the injunction, argued the men's names should be kept secret to protect their private lives.
From left to right: Naseem Khan, Mohammed Javed and Allam Shah pictured outside London's High Court
The men were barred from contacting underage girls in a landmark anti-exploitation case in Birmingham
Even though the men have now been named, the force says it will not be releasing their photographs for the same reason.
A spokesman said: 'We have a duty to consider the impact of releasing the men's images on innocent family members, such as their partners and their own young children.' 
The men's names were released by Mr Justice Keehan at the High Court in London today after an application by journalists, who argued the public had a right to know.
He said his decision took into account it was 'their own reprehensible conduct which has led them into this position.'
All six had been hit with injunctions after applications by Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police.
The injunctions bar them from contacting, approaching or following the girl and from approaching 'any female under the age of 18 years, not previously associated with him, on a public highway, common land, wasteland, parkland, playing field, public transport stop or station.' 
They must also not allow any female under the age of 18 not previously known to them 'to enter into or remain in any private motor car or taxi in which he is driving or travelling as a passenger.'
They were also banned from texting or contacting the girl by any means including 'face to face contact, telephone (mobile/landline/facetime/skype etc), text messages, msm, blackberry, chatrooms, or other social media'.
All six men were hit with injunctions after applications by Birmingham City Council and West Midlands Police
Landmark ruling: The names of the six men were released today at the High Court in London 
Landmark ruling: The names of the six men were released today at the Royal Courts of Justice in London
And they are forbidden from passing on details for the girl, 'for example name, location, address, telephone numbers' or 'incite, encourage or facilitate the introduction of the (the girl) to any other male.'
If the injunctions are broken, the men could be jailed for up to two years for contempt of court. 
One of the men said the proceedings were 'racist' as he left court today. 
It came after social workers and police raised concerns about the welfare of a vulnerable 17-year-old girl, who was in the care of the local authority.
According to the council the girl went missing from care a shocking 102 times since July 2010, when she was just 13.
Between August and October this year the girl, now aged 17, was taken to various hotels around Birmingham where she was sexually exploited.
After the council's intervention the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was taken to a secure location for her own safety.
Javed, from Tyseley,  Khan, from Bordesley Green, and Shah, from Small Heath, claimed they were doing nothing wrong when police found them in a room at the Ibis Hotel in Birmingham with the teenager.
Named and shamed: Mr Justice Keehan ruled the public had the right to know the six men's names
Named and shamed: Mr Justice Keehan ruled the public had the right to know the six men's names
Javed claimed he met the girl at petrol station in August, and was drunk so he took her to the hotel room back and paid £40 in cash for the room.
He said nothing inappropriate happened, although they were both drinking vodka. He then said he called his friends Khan and Shah to take him home.
But the judge said Javed's evidence was 'incredible' and he was 'plainly lying.' He said the other two who claimed to have gone to the hotel to take him home as a friend were also lying.
He said: 'I am satisfied all three of them were engaged in the sexual exploitation of the girl.' 
He said Javed either had been engaged in sexual activity with her, or was planning her sexual exploitation, and brought the other two men to the hotel room to have sex with her.
Lorna Meyer QC, for Birmingham City Council, said the council and police had identified a 'number of individuals' found to be 'inappropriately' in the company of the 17-year-old girl.
Lawyers thought that there was not enough evidence to secure criminal convictions - on a beyond reasonable doubt basis - 'at the current time'.
But they thought that there was enough evidence to obtain civil court injunctions, which rely on the less strenuous test of the balance of probabilities. 
The first injunctions were granted on a temporary basis last month.
Permanent orders against Anjam, from Aston, and Ahmed, from Yardley, were secured on Monday.
Secured today were the injunctions on the three others and that against Hussain, from Tyseley.
A case against four other men, who cannot yet be named, continues.
Detective Chief Superintendent Danny Long, of the West Midlands Police Public Protection Unit, said similar measures may be used to tackle the 75 live cases of child exploitation currently being investigated in Birmingham.
He added: 'The injunctions give us the power to help to protect young people without putting them at the heart of a judicial process.
'Being found in a hotel room with a child is not a crime. Having a number of a child is not a crime. Sharing a taxi with a child is not a crime.
'But these men will not be allowed to do that.'

COUNCIL: THIS IS AN INNOVATIVE NEW WAY TO STOP GROOMING 

After the hearing, Peter Hay, Director of People at Birmingham City Council, said: 'Although there is not enough evidence for a criminal conviction at present, we do have enough information to obtain injunctions - these use a lower evidence threshold and the balance of probability.
'This is a ground-breaking approach, finding new ways to protect victims.
'We have to recognise that previous ways of dealing with this have not always worked.
'Too often the victim has not seen herself as a victim so it has been difficult to use the conventional criminal prosecution route.
Safeguarding: A lawyer representing Birmingham City Council (pictured) told Mr Justice Keehan how bosses had launched civil court proceedings against a number of men with the aim of protecting the young
Safeguarding: A lawyer representing Birmingham City Council (pictured) told Mr Justice Keehan how bosses had launched civil court proceedings against a number of men with the aim of protecting the young
'Because perpetrators befriend their victims and make them feel special it is therefore harder to gather concrete evidence to use against them. 
'We have used intelligence gathered by both agencies as well as evidence of perpetrators' criminal activities.
'This doesn't replace the criminal process but it is about finding complementary ways of working together to do all we can to safeguard vulnerable children.
'The young woman in question comes from a large family and has been known to Birmingham social services for a number of years.
'She is a bright young woman who cares deeply about her family, especially her siblings. 
'We strongly believe that she is being consistently sexually exploited and has been since her early teenage years.
'Every time she goes missing a police investigation is launched. She has been found in hotel rooms with men in states of undress and in a state of intoxication, despite lack of funds.
'Despite many attempts to work with her to understand the risks she was placing herself in, she continued to have contact with these men.
'She is now safe, in secure accommodation for her own protection.'

14 comments:

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