Friday, 31 August 2007

'Solicitor to the terrorists' under investigation

A leading solicitor is being investigated by police over allegations of bribery after a senior judge raised concerns about her conduct.

Mudassar Arani will be the subject of a criminal inquiry into whether she attempted to bribe a defendant in the recent July 21 bomb trial and asked the man to change his case.

The investigation will be conducted by Scotland Yard’s Specialist Crime Directorate. Depending on the outcome of that, she could face a charge of perverting the course of justice. That offence carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The Times has learnt that the investigation began this week after Mr Justice Fulford, the judge in the trial, expressed concerns about Ms Arani’s activities. Lawyers for Manfo Kwaku Asiedu, the so-called fifth bomber who abandoned an explosive device on July 21, 2005, said during the trial that Ms Arani had attempted to bribe him to change his case. She was said in court to have sent Mr Asiedu £650 in cash and a card marking the Islamic festival of Eid with the message “lots of love Mudassar Arani”.

It was further alleged that documents were smuggled to Mr Asiedu inside Belmarsh jail suggesting how he might change his defence case to tally with statements made by other defendants who were Ms Arani’s clients. At the end of the trial last month, the judge was highly critical in public of what he said were delaying tactics by Ms Arani and her clients which had prolonged the trial unnecessarily.

But it has now emerged that he raised the matter of the alleged bribery privately with prosecution lawyers.
While Miss Arani has, so far as I know, no previous criminal record, this would not be the first time that she has behaved in a manner that might not be regarded as entirely ethical: in 2005, she was sued for racial discrimination and non-payment of earnings by her former paralegal. More recently, she attracted attention after claiming that jailed terrorists should be given prisoner of war status.

Obviously, the investigation has only just commenced: while Mudassar Arani gives the strong impression of being a woman of rather dubious character, with an attachment to her terrorist clients that goes somewhat beyond mere professional interest, she has not yet been charged with anything, still less convicted. Still, it should be interesting to see how this pans out...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The employment tribunal dismissed all the complaints made against Arani (