Halifax men in court over historic sex offences against teenage girl

Six men have denied historic sex offences against the same teenage girl in West Yorkshire.

They were among seven men who appeared at Leeds Crown Court today following a police operation.

A total of 25 defendants have been charged and the others will appear at the court today (Wed) for two further plea and case management hearings.

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The defendants have been split into different groups with four separate trials to be heard next year.

The first trial in February will be of Aftab Hussain, Fasil Mahmood and Akbar Hussain all from Halifax. A court order is in place preventing publication of the full addresses of any defendants.

Aftab Hussain, 36, pleaded not guilty to four charges. He denied meeting a child following sexual grooming, sexual assault on the girl between July 20 2008 and June 11 2011 and two offences of sexual activity with a child between 1 January and 21 July 2011.

Fasil Mahmood, 36, denied sexual activity with a child between July 20, 2009 and 21 July 2010 when she was aged 14 and supplying her with cannabis between the same dates.

Akbar Hussain, 29, denied sexual activity with a child between July 20 2010 and July 21 2011 when she was aged 15 and supplying her with cannabis between those dates.

The four other defendants who appeared yesterday(tues) are due to be tried later.

Aesan Pervez, 26 of Halifax pleaded not guilty to sexual assault on August 5, 2009 and to a sexual assault on October 31, 2009.

Sikander Ishaq, 31 of Halifax denied one charge of sexual activity with a child between July 20, 2009 and July 21, 2011.

Furqaan Ghafar, 30 from Derby denied sexual activity with a child between February 22, 2011 and April 6, 2011.

No charges were put to Mansoor Akhtar, 24 from Halifax and his case was adjourned.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said two days had been fixed in August this year for a ground rules hearing when questions are agreed for cross-examination of the complainant before the videoing of that cross-examination takes place in September.

The evidence of child or vulnerable complainants has been recorded on video to be played as their evidence in chief at trial for several years and Leeds Crown Court is currently one of the centres piloting a new system where the cross-examination is also done and videod in advance of a trial.

The defendants were granted conditional bail until the next hearing in August.

There was no protest by the English Defence League outside the court building as there was on the previous two appearances of the defendants at Calderdale Magistrates Court and the Crown Court.