Gavin Doig and Claire Anderson prosecute a Northumbria Police investigation into the targeting of vulnerable young women in Sunderland.

Operation Argon was a Northumbria Police investigation into the targeting of vulnerable young women in Sunderland, prosecuted by Gavin Doig, leading Claire Anderson, instructed by CPS North-East and heard at Newcastle Crown Court. The victims were plied with Class A drugs, and many were then sexually assaulted or raped. Omar Sharif was the main Defendant. He was ultimately convicted of raping three victims, and sexually assaulting a fourth, all aged between 17 and 19. He was also convicted of serious drug offences.

In an attempt to prevent his sexual offending coming to light, Sharif committed three separate offences of perverting the course of justice, bullying and intimidating people into providing false evidence to solicitors or the police in an attempt to persuade them that true allegations were false. Further at his first trial Sharif perjured himself by giving emotive evidence about his presence at a murder scene, and the effect this experience, and what he had seen, had had on him, when in fact he had not been there and had seen nothing.

As a result of his perjury, and the withdrawal of his legal team, the jury was discharged in his first trial after 5 weeks. All his victims therefore had to give evidence a second time at a second trial a year later which process has finally resulted in his conviction and sentence for 20 offences today.

HHJ Moreland sentenced him to a total of 32 years 6 months imprisonment, with a 5 year period of licence extension.

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