Tuesday, December 02, 2014

'Wicked' schoolgirl rapist loses appeal against convictions

A KERB-crawling rapist who preyed on vulnerable schoolgirls will stay behind bars after losing an appeal against his convictions.
Uncle and nephew Shazad Rehman, 32, and Bilal Hussain, 25, found the 14-year-old girls walking the streets of Keighley, plied them with drink and drugs and took them to hotels in Bradford and Batley for sex.
In March last year, Rehman was jailed for 18-and-a-half years after he was found guilty of supplying cannabis, three rapes and other sexual assaults.
His accomplice, Hussain got 17-and-a-half years for his part in the series of crimes.
Rehman, of Halifax, continues to claim he is innocent and took his case to the Court of Appeal, where three senior judges rejected his complaints.
Mr Justice Stewart said there was no reason to think the convictions were wrong and that the sentence was richly deserved.
'We have no hesitation in upholding the sentence as one which is not even arguably manifestly excessive,' he said.
The court heard all of the victims were vulnerable and were known to social services.
Rehman was said by one of the witnesses in the case to have referred to them as 'fresh meat'.
His lawyers argued that the crown court judge was wrong to allow the prosecution to adduce 'bad character' evidence.
The evidence was of another occasion when he was said to have approached young girls in the street.
There was also material which suggested he had driven his car into a school grounds during class hours.
The prosecution said it showed a propensity to target youngsters for sex, but his lawyers said it did more harm than was necessary to his defence.
But Mr Justice Stewart, who heard the appeal with Lord Justice Pitchford and Judge Simon Tonking, said the evidence was rightly admitted at the trial.
'These were all matters for the jury to take into account,' he said.
'What cannot be said was that it was unjust to allow in the evidence.
'There is nothing unsafe about the convictions of the applicant.'
Upholding the sentence, he referred to the description of Rehman's actions by the trial Judge Jonathan Rose as "wicked and determined".
He had caused 'incalculable harm' to the girls, the judge concluded.
During the trial it was heard that after Rehman and Hussain, of Leeds, had sexually abused the girls, they gave them a few pounds for a MacDonald's, a KFC, Skittles or crisps and paid for their bus or taxi fare home.
The girls did not tell anyone at the time because they thought they would be labelled "slags" who were "up for it".
Locking them up, Judge Rose told them: "I don't have a shadow of doubt that you caused incalculable psychological harm to your victims."

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