Young Somali man walks free after exercising the right to silence and acquittal of Possession for intent to supply Class B drugs and assault on police

Sunday 28 January 2018

Lalith de Kauwe was instructed by Sudesh Bopitiya, and Mohammad Miah, SBG Solicitors. He secured acquittals on Possession with intent to supply 60 grams of skunk cannabis and Assault on a police woman at Harrow Crown Court.

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The defendant contended that the assault allegation brought by the police was false. An officer’s body worn camera revealed that the defendant was verbally and physically abused by the police officers. The defendant was seen and heard to complain that an officer spat at him and forced his face on to the hot bonnet of a police car. Consequently the prosecution at trial offered no evidence on that charge.

The defendant, aged 19, admitted possession of 60.3 grams of cannabis for personal use but denied possession with intent to supply.

The defendant exercised his right to silence throughout. Firstly he made a no comment interview and at trial he did not give evidence or call any evidence.

The defence contended that there had been a monumental failure to investigate by the prosecution.

The jury took less than 45 minutes to acquit.

The sad reality is that he was yet another young, black person refused bail before his trial. He had been remanded in custody at HMP Wormwood Scrubs for 4 months because of these allegations. He experienced the degradation of being often locked up for 23 hours a day.

See also Lalith's comment piece relating to specifying the ethnicity of a defendant he acquitted in a kidnap, blackmail and robbery case.

Lalith de Kauwe is a member of the Garden Court Chambers Crime Team.

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