Birmingham & Black Country

Wrongful rape conviction led to 'five years of hell'

A man who has had a rape conviction quashed has been through "five years of hell", his solicitor said.

Judges sitting at the Court of Appeal, in Birmingham, heard Sajid Ali, 41, was sentenced to five years in jail following a "mistake" by West Midlands Police.

Mr Ali, from Aston, was convicted in 2009, but police did not realise his alleged victim had previously made a false allegation of indecent assault.

The force said it would investigate.

Mr Ali was accused of raping a woman he met while working as a floor layer.

However, jurors who tried him in 2009 were unaware that the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had made a bogus allegation of indecent assault five years earlier.

'Upset and disappointed'

The appeal court heard police checks made before Mr Ali's trial failed to find any trace of the previous complaint, possibly because the woman's name had changed.

The force's "mistake" was only uncovered by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC) after Mr Ali had spent two-and-a-half years in jail.

Quashing Mr Ali's conviction and ordering there should not be a retrial, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, said it was unclear why the CCRC had been able to find the information but the police had not.

He directed the chief constable to provide a report to the court explaining the failure.

He added: "It seems to us the defendant is entitled to know why this matter arose."

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Ali's solicitor, Khuram Yaqub, said his client had "said from the outset he is innocent".

"He is relieved that his conviction has been quashed but he is also upset and disappointed this information was not found by the police," he said.

West Midlands Police said it was looking into the matter.

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