Little or no investigation
North Wales Police could never be accused of being superstars when it comes to their investigative skills, time and time again they fail to investigate properly and time and time again innocent people have their lives turned upside down because of this inept , badly managed police force.
No apology has been given by North Wales Police, despite the hell they put this man and his family through.
It is time an outside agency was brought in to investigate the horrendous failings of the UK’s most corrupt police force, North Wales Police.
A taxi driver who faced up to 18 months in jail after being wrongly convicted as a sex offender has had his badge returned but is apprehensive about going back on the road.
Mohammed Islam, 40, of Cedar Grove, Hoole, was stunned after being found guilty of sexually touching three young female passengers in the early hours as they got out of his vehicle in North Wales back in September 2013.
Fighting for his liberty, Mr Islam paid £1,500 out of his own pocket to enhance CCTV footage, taken from the McDonald’s Drive Thru off Sealand Road, which revealed the cab at the centre of the case was a London-style taxi not the Citroen people carrier type vehicle he drives and there was a partial registration number which bore no similarity to his own.
Further mobile phone network analysis showed it was not possible for Mr Islam to have been at that location at the relevant time.
An appeal on January 30 was unopposed by the Crown Prosecution Service and all charges were quashed. North Wales Police has now reopened the case.
“It’s quite scary going back to work after what happened,” said the taxi driver, who has had his badge returned by Cheshire West and Chester Council but fears being wrongly accused again. He will purchase a camera covering the inside of the cab to give him protection in future.
Mr Islam, a married father of two, has been through an ordeal lasting a year which has seen him arrested by North Wales Police twice, including in front of his children, and led to legal bills of around £4,000 with no income to pay the mortgage on the family home and growing debts.
Things got so bad he became depressed and suffered anxiety attacks, his eldest son dropped out of his A-levels, his youngest got teased at school and his wife Sajeda had to sell her gold jewellery to help pay the bills.
Such was the stigma of the case that Mr Islam, a deeply religious man, stopped going to the mosque in Chester and instead went to Ellesmere Port.
Mr Islam, who collapsed unconscious on being convicted by Flintshire Magistrates Court, said: “We are living in a civilised country and we have got monitoring everywhere and yet this happened. It’s very unfair, very unfair. It’s North Wales Police’s fault. They didn’t do their job properly. They put my life through hell.”
His wife explained that when her husband was first arrested, he spent a whole day in custody and North Wales Police would not tell her ‘anything’. She added: “They just believed what they wanted to believe. I have completely lost faith in the British judicial system.”
The couple thanked supporters, including colleagues at Chester Radio Taxis, especially Matt Dalton, who stuck by them and even donated money to make sure the family had a decent Christmas.
Mr Islam’s solicitor Adam Antoszkiw, of Chester-based Gray & Co, said his client had been the victim of a ‘quirky set of circumstances’. Police had been seeking an Asian taxi driver and an automatic number plate recognition camera and mobile phone cell site analysis had superficially indicated Mr Islam was in the right area at around the right time.
“It’s a massive shame it was not properly investigated,” said Mr Antoszkiw, who is convinced cut-backs were a factor in what went wrong, including the decision to save money by not DNA testing one of the victim’s trousers on to which she had wiped saliva from the actual offender’s mouth.
“Mr Islam would have gone to prison. There’s no doubt it would been a custodial sentence and potentially between 12-18 months,” said the lawyer, who said the old adage of ‘innocent until proven guilty’ had not held in this case with his client having to fund an investigation to prove his own innocence.
He added: “There are three ladies who are victims of a sexual assault who thought it had all been finished and now they have been told that it’s not.”
Mr Antoszkiw, who said his client won’t get compensation and may even struggle to recover his defence costs because of government reforms, added: “What price justice? It has to be getting to the point whereby we are seriously flirting with miscarriages of justice because things are being investigated on a cost basis.”
Detective Inspector Lee Boycott, of North Wales Police, said: “The events of Friday 30th January 2015 have prompted a fresh look at the case and it will now be reopened. As the case is ongoing I cannot offer any further comment at the moment.”