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Nineteen-year-old found not guilty of murder and manslaughter at Reading Crown Court

Wednesday 11 November 2020

Hossein Zahir QC led Alex Rose, both of the Garden Court Criminal Defence Team, instructed by Mohammed Zeb and Nawal Asskoumi of Stuart Miller Solicitors.

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In this tragic case a young defendant was tried and retried for the murder of his friend.  The prosecution case was that he and a co-defendant were involved in an illicit meeting, during which the deceased ran into the co-defendant, knocking him to the ground, whereupon a struggle ensued resulting in the deceased being stabbed to death with a large hunting knife.  The incident was captured on grainy CCTV footage from which it was possible to ascertain that throughout the defendant remained on his feet whilst at times leaning down towards the struggle. 

The defendant’s case was that he was trying to separate his friend and the co-defendant.  The prosecution alleged that the defendant and his co-defendant were joint principles, notwithstanding the friendship and the presence of the co-defendant’s DNA on the knife used in the stabbing.  The co-defendant blamed the defendant for the stabbing by running a ‘cut-throat’ defence, falsely alleging that he had sold the defendant the knife.  The jury convicted the co-defendant but were unable to reach a verdict on the defendant.  The defendant was retried, the prosecution now alleging that he was a secondary party, who joined in the struggle to assist the co-defendant to stab the deceased.  The jury rejected the prosecution case and the defendant was found not guilty of murder and manslaughter. 

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