Gay Muslim challenges trial judge
Allegations of judicial bias and unfairness
Michael Cashman backs appeal by hate crime victim
Mohamed S wins parole, but forced to serve extra two months
London – 3 October 2006
A twenty-nine-year-old gay Muslim is challenging the conduct of one of
England’s senior circuit judges, Nicholas Medawar QC, who sentenced
him to eight years jail in 2002.
Mohamed S was jailed following his conviction on a charge of causing
grievous bodily harm – a charge he has always denied.
He says he was the victim of a homophobic hate attack, not the
perpetrator, and was framed by his assailants after their attack on
him went wrong.
Mohamed S believes the judge’s handling of the court proceedings
showed bias and prevented him from getting a fair trial.
Recently released from prison after serving four years, Mohamed S last
week filed a new submission to the Criminal Cases Review Commission
(CCRC), the top body for examining alleged wrongful convictions.
His 48-page submission seeks to quash his conviction on the grounds of
the judge’s conduct of his trial in November 2002.
Mohamed S has issued a statement:
“I do not believe I received a fair trial. Judge Medawar kept
interrupting me and my barrister, preventing me from giving the
evidence I wanted to give. At times, he appeared to be not listening
to my evidence. He showed disrespect and discourtesy. He pressured me
to rush my evidence, putting me under unreasonable time pressure. His
summing up to the jury gave more time and weight to the prosecution
evidence, and he failed to mention the major inconsistencies in the
testimonies of the prosecution witnesses. The judge unfairly
disparaged me and my barrister in front of the jury, making them less
inclined to have confidence in our credibility and reliability. He
dismissed as irrelevant what I believe was important defence evidence.
This is my assessment of his handling of my trial,” said Mohamed S.
Mohamed S, who has asked for his full name and other identifying
details to be withheld because he fears violent retribution against
himself and his family by the men who attacked him, has been adopted
by gay human rights group OutRage!
“We have assisted with the preparation of his CCRC application,” said
Peter Tatchell of OutRage!
“At his trial, Mohamed’s defence was hampered by intimidation of his
witnesses, by alleged bias by the trial judge, by apparent failings by
his lawyers, by his severe psychological trauma, by his poor command
of English, and by his on-going fears for his own life and the safety
of his partner, family and friends.
“I have discovered a series of successful complaints against Mohamed’s
trial judge, Judge Nicholas Medawar:
“In the summer of 2005, three people convicted in trials presided over
by Judge Medawar had their convictions overturned by the Court of
Appeal because of his alleged bias against the defendants and their
lawyers. Two months later the Department for Constitutional Affairs
announced that Judge Medawar was retiring,” added Mr Tatchell.
“Mohamed alleges bias by Judge Medawar against him and his barrister
and defence witness.
“Judge Medawar’s summing up to the jury appears to have ignored major
inconsistencies in the evidence of prosecution witnesses. He barely
mentioned police doubts about the truthfulness of the five men who
testified against Mohamed.
“This alleged bias by the judge is the basis of the current phase of
Mohamed’s CCRC appeal,” said Mr Tatchell.
The call for a review of Mohamed’s conviction by the CCRC is backed by
gay Labour MEP Michael Cashman:
“I find aspects of this case disturbing and worrying. It’s vital that
this case is reviewed.”
Mohamed also has the support of former Labour MP and ex-cabinet
Minister, Chris Smith, now Lord Smith of Finsbury:
"There are a number of very disturbing questions that arise about this
conviction, and I believe a thorough review is required," said Lord
A similar view is taken by the Labour MP, Ian Gibson, who is backing
Mohamed's application to the CCRC:
"I am increasingly becoming convinced that Mohamed's conviction is
unsafe and full of contradictions. I have met him and have been
impressed by his frankness and perseverance. It seems to me that he
needs his case to be reviewed by the CCRC," said Dr Gibson.
Mohamed recently won his application for parole, but was forced to
spend almost two months longer in prison that he should have.
According to Peter Tatchell:
“He was eligible for parole on 29 June 2006, and submitted his
application more than a month earlier. The Home Office should have
decided his parole before 29 June, but failed to give him a decision
until 24 August.
“This meant that Mohamed spent two months longer in prison than
necessary. If the Home Office had considered his parole application
before 29 June, he would have been released on 29 June. Instead, he
was kept in prison an extra two months longer than justified,” said Mr
Mohamed S has expressed his appreciation to everyone who has helped
“I am very grateful for the support I have received from Lord Smith,
Peter Tatchell and OutRage!, my solicitors Simon Creighton and Laura
Higgs, MPs Ian Gibson and Stephen Timms, and from MEPs Michael
Cashman, Caroline Lucas, Jean Lambert and Andrew Duff,” said Mohamed
“Without their help, I may not have won parole and would not have been
able to file such a strong application to the CCRC to overturn my
conviction,” he added.
Further information: Peter Tatchell 020 7403 1790