Following a two year police investigation, conducted under the name Operation Falland, and a trial that has lasted nearly 3 weeks during November 2017, Naveeda Ikram the trial judge found that there was no case to answer in relation to an allegation of misconduct in public office. The prosecution, however, appealed that ruling, but today the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment which upheld the trial judge and which results in the acquittal of Mrs Ikram.
Mrs Ikram had gained particular prominence within the political landscape of Bradford when she became the first female, Muslim to hold the office of Lord Mayor in the UK. The allegation of misconduct in a public office arose from a time after her tenure as Lady Mayoress, when she was a local authority councillor for the Little Horton Ward in Bradford.
The prosecution’s case amounted to an allegation that she had behaved corruptly by trying to secure local authority work for a company in which she was said to have an undisclosed financial interest.
Paul and Nick submitted that the judge should stop the case at the conclusion of the prosecution evidence on the basis that there was no evidence that Mrs Ikram had either tried to secure work nor, indeed, that she had any financial interest in the company.
The judge accepted that submission in its entirety and concluded that Mrs Ikram should be acquitted.
However, prosecution announced that it would appeal this ruling and legal argument was conducted in front of the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division over the course of 21st February 2018
Having taken time to consider it’s decision, the Court of Appeal today rejected the prosecution’s argument that the judge had acted unreasonably in reaching the conclusions he did, accepting the arguments put forward by Paul and Nick. The effect of this is that the judge’s conclusion that the defendant should be acquitted on the basis that there was insufficient evidence to justify a conviction stands, and Mrs Ikram has been found not guilty.
A transcript of the Court of Appeal judgment may be found here.
The case engaged a number of complex matters of law and the legal arguments advanced in the course of the case on Mrs Ikram’s behalf spanned across the operation and effect of the Localism Act 2011, the lack of proper continuity in relation to material obtained from a computer from the defendant’s home and breaches of the Code of Practice under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 by the Chief Whip of the Bradford Labour party.
In a press release, Mrs Ikram stated that she “would like to thank publicly her legal team who have represented her throughout the process especially her solicitor Philip Goldberg who headed her legal team at Minton Morrill and her barristers Paul Greaney QC and Nicholas de la Poer.”