Muslim leader branded a liar as Fife racism case collapse
A Muslim religious leader and his wife have been branded liars after their allegations of racism collapsed in court.
The couple had made claims of racist comments being made by a man living close to a mosque after a long-running dispute over parking.
However, the case fell apart at Dunfermline Sheriff Court leading to a not guilty verdict against Richard Hynd.
The case had received widespread publicity last year when the wife of the imam, who claimed he had been racially abused, brought proceedings to halt by insisting on wearing a full-veil when giving evidence.
She finally agreed to take off the veil but she and her husband gave evidence from behind screens and through an interpreter, although both speak English.
Mr Hynd, 50, of Woodmill Crescent, Dunfermline, denied that on July 18 in his street he acted in a racially aggravated manner to the imam, Amanat Hussainshah and his wife Sayyeda Ruqaya by shouting, swearing and acting in an aggressive manner, uttering threats and making racially offensive remarks.
The imam told the court that the racist incident had occurred when he was walking to the Islamic Centre in Woodmill Road for evening prayers.
He had stopped to take a note of the registration number of Mr Hynd’s van. This followed an incident earlier in the day when Mr Hynd had spoken to the imam’s wife.
Mr Hussainshah told Isobel Kenny, a neighbour of the accused, “He should not have spoken to my wife. I’m a man of faith. The law is the law.”
Mr Hynd had come out of the house to see what the imam was doing at his van. Mr Hussainshah claimed that during a verbal exchange, Mr Hynd had called him a “bloody black bastard”, a “Paki”, had asked, “Why do you come to our country and disturb the people?” and also “Why don’t you go back to your own country.”
Mr Hussainshah, who was born in Pakistan, moved to Scotland from South Africa in December 2012 to take up the post of imam at the Dunfermline mosque.
He told the court that his wife had been at his side when Mr Hynd made the racist comments and their children were nearby.
His wife then told the court the same story, claiming she had heard the racial abuse.
However, the next two Crown witnesses, Mrs Kenny and her daughter Hayley both said the incident only involved Mr Hynd and the imam and that his wife was not present.
They also both saw the imam taking photos with his phone, contradicting his evidence that he was using a pen and paper.
Both women admitted they did not get on with their neighbour and so had no reason to lie for him.
Defence solicitor Gordon Martin had asked the imam was it not the case he had “made up” the allegations and then made his wife back them up. He denied this.
Mr Martin also queried why the imam and his wife had affirmed an oath instead of swearing on The Quran.
In his closing address Mr Martin told the sheriff if he accepted the evidence of the Crown’s third and fourth witnesses then it mean that “the second witness is a liar, as is the first witness.”
Sheriff Craig McSherry delivered a not guilty verdict.
Afterwards, Mr Hynd said, “This whole case has been a farce from the start. The two of them just made up the story which was a pack of lies. It just shows you some people aren’t as religious as they try to make out.
“The background was parking in the streets around the mosque especially on Fridays. The council and the police have been told as many times but it’s been going on for ages and it will probably kick off again.”