The Hidden Grooming Gang

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Judge Slams Decision to Hide Identities of Men who Sexually Exploited Girl



A high Court Judge has criticised West Midlands Police for protecting the identities of ten men convicted for sexually exploiting a 17-year-old girl in care. It has been revealed that the 17-year-old is now pregnant and one of the accused is the father.


The judge, Mr. Justice Keehan, said he was “extremely surprised” at the Police’s position on the publication of the Defendants’ identities.


The ten men were given injunctions that prevented them from contacting the girl and approaching other girls they do not know, this decision arose from a number of hearings in the Family Division of the High Court last month.


Mr. Keehan ruled that the men could be identified even though police raised concerns about the mens’ safety, after journalists argued the public had a right to know. Their names are Mohammed Anjam, Omar Ahmed, Naseem Khan, Mohammed Javed, Shah Alam, Sajid Hussain, Rahman Aziz, Imran Uddin, Mansur Ahmed and Sarfraz Riaz, who has been named as the father.


Yet Police claimed they worried for the mens’ safety after they were named and refused to release photographs.


“I was given a copy of a risk assessment which had been undertaken by the police. I was told the risk of harm to each of the respondents was high. That was based on the fear of reprisal attacks by right wing racist organisations or by members of the local community,” said the judge, who analysed evidence in public hearings, in his ruling.


“I was extremely surprised at the stance taken by the police. When I pressed for the factual basis upon which the risk assessment had been made, I was told there was none, the risk was unknown but based on experience, the risk was high. I regret I do not understand that analysis at all.”


Police also argued there was a risk of people being misidentified as the accused and being assaulted.


“I regret that submission makes no sense to me at all,” Mr Justice Keehan replied.


“The surest way of eradicating or ameliorating the risk of misidentification is ensuring the fullest possible details of each of the (men), including photographs, are made public and given wide coverage by the media.”


“It was submitted that details of the (men) and the findings of the court should be made known on a ‘need to know’ basis and to do so would increase the efficacy of the injunctive orders,” said the judge.


“I am not satisfied that there is any credible evidence that there is a risk to the life of any respondent to these proceedings.”


He added that although there was considerable risk that the men could be harmed by members of the public, it was the duty of police to address that risk and ensure public order in the community.


Detective Chief Superintendent Danny Long, head of West Midlands Police’s public protection unit, said, “We are duty bound to act proportionately to the threat the men currently pose to the girl and possibly others. We also have a duty to consider the impact of releasing the men’s images on innocent family members, which include their partners and their own young children.”

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