Muslims are the first to complain when they feel they are being unfairly treated compared with others. Yet they still expect special treatment because of their religion. The justice system is especially fond of giving Muslims special treatment compared with the rest of the country.
Reporting of Muslim lawyers’ trial banned ‘for cultural reasons’: Judge’s gagging order lifted after appeal by the Daily Mail
- Reporting the case of Asha Khan, 30, and Kashif Khan, 34, was banned
- The order was made to prevent them being shamed in their community
- But after a legal challenge from the Daily Mail, the restrictions were lifted
- Asha Khan was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice
- She and Kashif were said to be involved in a plot to switch speeding points
- But Kashif, Asha’s brother, was acquitted after arguing he did not know
By ELEANOR HARDING
PUBLISHED: 23:47, 29 December 2013 | UPDATED: 23:47, 29 December 2013
A judge allowed two Muslim solicitors accused of trying to cheat the legal system to hide behind a cloak of secrecy for ‘cultural reasons’, the Daily Mail can disclose.
He banned reporting of the case of Asha Khan, 30, and her brother Kashif, 34, to prevent them allegedly being shamed in the eyes of their community.
In the latest farce involving secret justice, the pair were told they could enjoy the court’s protection because members of their family would pass judgment if the case was reported.
It is a privilege rarely bestowed on defendants in the justice system, which has operated on the principle of transparency for centuries. However, following a challenge by the Daily Mail, the restriction was lifted – enabling the case to be reported.
Judge Peter Hughes reversed his original ban after deciding that the principle of open justice was more important than saving the embarrassment of a defendant.
After almost a year of court appearances and legal argument, Miss Khan has been convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice, while her brother was acquitted of the charge.
They were on trial accused of helping their father, Mohammed, dodge a speeding fine by pretending he was not driving at the time of the offence.
In a saga with echoes of the Chris Huhne scandal, he allowed a man who worked for the family to take the blame instead.
At the beginning of the hearings, Miss Khan’s barrister, Glenn Gatland, argued she would not give evidence properly in the presence of the Press because she was afraid of family repercussions.
He said she did not want to criticise her father in public – though she was quite happy to have her mother sit in the public gallery.
‘Miss Khan is quite upset that if matters are reported she doesn’t feel she would be able to give her evidence as freely as she would have done otherwise,’ said Mr Gatland. ‘Culturally, it’s very difficult for them to say things in public. The evidence would be impacted on by the cultural background of Miss Khan.’
Judge Hughes accepted the argument and banned reporting of the case but then changed his mind after a two-day legal battle with the Mail. ‘We are dealing with members of the legal profession charged with perverting the course of justice,’ he said.
‘People of all faiths or no faiths should be treated in precisely the same way. We’re not dealing with discrimination against. We’re dealing with discrimination for.’
York Crown Court heard that in August 2010 Mohammed Khan was caught by a speed camera in Newcastle while driving daughter Asha’s silver BMW.
When Miss Khan received the speeding notice, she claimed that the driver was David Moat, who worked for the family.
Some months later, the day before Moat was due before magistrates, her brother faxed the court a letter on Moat’s behalf, saying he wanted to plead guilty by post.
Moat was fined £100 with £30 costs and six penalty points for the speeding offence. Prosecutor Jacob Dyer said: ‘There is no dispute in this case that the man actually driving the car was Kashif Khan’s father.
‘It was hoped by supplying the false details that the trail would be lost and the fixed penalty unit would eventually take no further action. But the suspicions of the unit were aroused.’
Kashif Khan successfully argued he did not realise what was going on and had only been trying to help Moat by filling in the form using information provided by him.
‘It was horrible,’ he said. ‘All my life I have worked so hard and told the truth.’
The Khans work for KK Solicitors in Newcastle and live in the city. Asha Khan, a trainee at the firm, will be sentenced in the New Year, with her father and Moat, who both admitted their part in the plot.