Convicted rapist Nadeem Akhtar, 44, and 28-year-old Dewsbury man Fahim Iqbal, who was found guilty of aiding and abetting a rape offence, were caught red-handed after a suspicious custody officer checked the toilet behind the dock of the courtroom where their long-running trial was taking place.
Prosecutor Adam Birkby told Bradford Crown Court today (Wed) that Akhtar, who was on bail during the trial, had been in the toilet for over 15 minutes and after he returned to the dock Iqbal, who was in custody, then asked to use the toilet.
But before he was allowed in the custody officer checked the cubicle and found a package containing two miniature mobile phones with charging cables, 10 SIM cards, six Subutex tablets and 25grammes of tobacco which had been hidden in the toilet roll dispenser.
-> Why driver who ploughed into 15-year-old girl who died in Leeds hospital will not be charged over bus stop crashAfter the discovery of the package in the toilet the trial was halted by the judge and a search of the dock area led to further illegal items being found under a co-defendant’s chair.
In that package the police found 12.7grammes of cannabis resin, 1.68grammes of skunk cannabis, a miniature mobile phone and charger and 10 Subutex tablets.
Akhtar and Iqbal were both taken into custody while the incident was investigated and after their subsequent convictions at the end of February they pleaded guilty to further charges of conspiracy to supply drugs and conspiracy to take the mobile phones and accessories into prison.
Akhtar, of Newport Place, Bradford, was jailed for 17 years for the rape offences last month and Iqbal, of Quarry Road, Dewsbury, was locked up for seven years.
Seven other men received prison terms totalling 108 years at the end of the sexual grooming trial.
Akhtar and Iqbal were brought from custody today (Wed) to be sentenced for the conspiracy offences committed on February 4 and they both received and additional five months in jail.
-> GP's 'gross failure' led to death of retired Leeds pub landlady after Vitamin D overdose, coroner rulesThe court heard that Iqbal had twice been caught with a mobile phone in prison while serving a previous sentence.
His barrister Andrew Dallas said it was well known on Iqbal’s wing that he was going to court every day for the trial and he was sitting in the dock with people who were on bail.
“He was promised some cannabis if he agreed to do this,” said Mr Dallas.
“It was a highly risky, ill-thought out enterprise.
“This was stupid behaviour by someone who was very stressed at the time and saw an opportunity to have a bit of cannabis for himself.”
Jailing the pair the Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said they shown “remarkable stupidity” and their actions had been an appalling distraction during the trial.
“How on earth Mr Iqbal you thought you could get this back into Armley I do not know, but you were prepared to take the risk,” said the judge.