Leicester solicitor wins fight to clear his name
A solicitor whose career was in ruins after he was jailed for a crime he said he did not commit has won his four-year quest to clear his name.
Mohammed Imran Hussain served three months in prison after a jury convicted him of the offence of witness intimidation, in January last year.
The conviction meant the 35-year-old was not allowed to practice as a lawyer – a career for which he had studied for seven years.
Now, the married father-of-four is again working for Sakhi Solicitors, in Greyfriars, Leicester, after an appeal court quashed the conviction.
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He had been accused of pointing a client in the direction of a room at Loughborough Magistrates' Court in which a prosecution witness was sitting alone waiting for their trial to begin.
Mr Hussain's client went to the room and made threatening gestures to the witness. He was later jailed for criminal damage and witness intimidation.
Mr Hussain was jailed after a jury saw CCTV footage which apparently showed him pointing his client toward the room.
An appeal court ruled the conviction was unsafe because the CCTV did not record sound and therefore there was no evidence of Mr Hussain encouraging his client to commit the offence.
Mr Hussain said: "I don't break easily because I am a tough character but I was distraught.
"I was inside for three months and I will never forget it. I met people I had represented and I have to say they helped me stay sane.
"My young children had to come to see me in prison. I will remember that for the rest of my life and so will they.
"It took me seven years to become a solicitor and everything I worked for was gone when I was convicted.
"I was convicted on the basis of a hand gesture which was caught on CCTV.
"I did not encourage my client to go to the room to intimidate a witness.
"Why would I do that? I would never do anything so stupid.
"I'm finally free after this extensive ordeal and nightmare.
"My family has suffered financially and we have borrowed to survive."
Raza Sakhi, Mr Hussain's employer then and now, said: "He told me he was innocent from day one and I never once doubted him.
"I have supported him financially and morally even though people were saying to me 'your firm will get a bad name for supporting a solicitor who has been convicted of a crime'.
"Now he has been vindicated and is able to practice I am glad to say I have supported him and his family."
Mr Hussain told his original trial at Lincoln Crown Court that the day in question was only the third time he had been to the Loughborough court and he did not know the private room was used as a witness waiting area.
He said he suggested his client go to the room as he believed a woman his client was interested in was there.
Senior judges at the Court of Appeal in London ruled Mr Hussain's conviction unsafe following a hearing in March last year.
They ordered a retrial, which took place at Nottingham Crown Court two months ago.
A judge at that trial ordered the jury to acquit Mr Hussain.
His Honour Judge Sampson told the hearing that asking jurors to judge the case on the basis of a gesture captured on CCTV and without sound was unsafe.