Are the newspapers really sure they have permission to reveal that now ex-Tory MP Imran Ahmad Khan is a convicted sex offender?
The lengths to which he – and, it seems, the authorities – went to avoid admitting he was facing charges were phenomenal, and strongly reinforce the prevailing opinion that MPs, and particularly Tories, get preferential treatment:
- His victim said he wasn’t ‘taken very seriously’ when he made the allegation of sexual assault to the Tory press office days before Khan was elected as MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, in the December 2019 general election.
- Turned away by the Tories, the victim resorted to the police, making a complaint days after Khan was elected. But Khan was sent a questionnaire by Staffordshire Police rather than being interviewed under caution at a station because of “Covid protocols in place at the time”.
- Neither Staffordshire Police nor the Crown Prosecution Service informed the media or the public when Khan was charged by postal requisition – the point at which suspects in criminal cases are routinely named.
- His first appearance at Westminster Magistrates’ Court by video link on June 3 last year did not appear on the public or press lists. Chief Magistrate Paul Goldspring granted him an interim anonymity order ahead of another unlisted hearing, which the CPS refused to confirm was taking place as well as what charge Khan was facing.
- He attempted to stop key details of the case – including the age of his victim, his own homosexuality, and even his fondness for a gin and tonic – coming into the public domain.
- On June 17 last year, Khan argued in court that he should be granted anonymity.
- Then he tweeted in support of press freedom, retweeting a message by then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab about the situation in Hong Kong. He had previously claimed Extinction Rebellion had constrained press freedom when the protest group blocked a newspaper printing press.
- His anonymity – unprecedented in a case not involving national security – was only lifted after legal challenges from two media organisations.
Now Khan has been convicted of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old male at a house in Staffordshire in 2008.
Southwark Crown Court heard how Khan forced the teenager to drink gin and tonic, dragged him upstairs, pushed him onto a bed and asked him to watch porn before the attack.
The victim, now 29, told a jury he was left feeling “scared, vulnerable, numb, shocked and surprised” after Khan touched his feet and legs, and came within “a hair’s breadth” of his genitals.
The boy ran to his parents and a police report was made – but no further action was taken at the time because the victim did not want to make a formal complaint.
Of course, now that a court has returned a “guilty” verdict, the Tory Party’s attitude has gone into reverse. Whereas in 2019 the victim wasn’t “taken very seriously”, now Khan has been expelled from the organisation.
He is awaiting sentencing for the offence and if he is imprisoned for more than a year he will be automatically expelled from the House of Commons.
He could also be subjected to the recall process, by which Wakefield constituents may have him removed as their MP.
Labour has already called for him to resign, so the people of Wakefield “can get the representation they deserve”.
This Writer is fine with all of that; whatever is appropriate, I’ll go with it.
But I want to know how the police and courts will be prevented from treating accused MPs as though the law doesn’t apply to them.
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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