Judges dismiss police chief’s claim of ‘unsafe’ conviction

Former police chief Ali Dizaei has lost his appeal against his conviction for misconduct and perverting the course of justice.

Ali Dizaei arrives at Southwark Crown Court, London

Three judges at the Court of Appeal in London dismissed a challenge brought by the ex-Scotland Yard commander, who was found guilty for a second time at a retrial in February last year.

The decision was announced by Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge yesterday.

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Iranian-born Dizaei, 50, from Acton, west London, had argued that his conviction was “unsafe”, but Lord Judge said the conviction “was and remains safe”.

Dizaei was first convicted of framing young businessman Waad al-Baghdadi in a street row in 2010. He was jailed for four years, but the conviction was quashed by the Court of Appeal a year later.

After the second trial he received a three-year prison sentence at London’s Southwark Crown Court. This was reduced by the 15 months he had already spent behind bars and he has been released. Dizaei was sacked by the Metropolitan Police following internal disciplinary proceedings.

During the recent hearing of his appeal, Dizaei’s QC Stephen Riordan argued that his conviction was “unsafe”, submitting that the judge at the second trial made an “error of law” when he refused to admit certain “bad character” evidence relating to Mr al-Baghdadi.

Mr Riordan said that because of the judge’s decision to reject the application the jury “did not have all the material that it should have done”. He told the court: “We submit simply that that decision was wrong – that the reasons he gave for refusing to allow this material to be deployed were matters which more properly should have been considered by the jury.”

Opposing the appeal, Peter Wright QC, for the Crown, said: “We submit that in the context of the fairness of this trial, that this trial remained entirely fair and that the conviction was not unsafe.”

Dismissing the appeal yesterday, Lord Judge said that the decision about the credibility of Waad al-Baghdadi and Dizaei “although crucial to the outcome of the case, fell to be assessed in the light of a substantial body of further evidence which was available to assist the jury to make their assessment”.

He added: “This was not a case, as it is sometimes expressed, of one person’s word against another. In truth there was formidable evidence against the appellant.”

After the ruling, Daniel Godden, partner at Hodge Jones and Allen, the law firm representing Dizaei, said they “have potentially discovered fresh evidence” relating to Mr al-Baghdadi “which the Court of Appeal did not consider and the case will now be referred to the Criminal Cases Review Commission”.