Ex-mayor of Huntingdon to appear at crown court over MP’s letter
07:00 19 February 2014
Former Huntingdon mayor Saeed Akthar has been charged with perverting the course of justice.
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly is among three people who it is alleged were approached under false pretences to provide character references for Mr Akthar’s son, who was facing sexual offences charges.
The 48-year-old, who is known as Sid and is a Tory councillor on Huntingdon town and Huntingdonshire district councils, was at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court on Friday (February 14).
Mr Akthar, of Sapley Road, Hartford, who was Mayor of Huntingdon from 2008-2010, was charged in relation to character references he obtained for his son, Ghafar Akthar, 21, who in October was sentenced after admitting sexual grooming, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and involving a child in pornography.
The intent to pervert the course of justice charge lists four acts between September 18 and October 16 last year relating to Mr Akthar’s son’s case at Peterborough Crown Court.
It is alleged that he sought character references for his son from Mr Djanogly, town councillor Stuart Hassell and Christopher Tasker by saying that they were to support a job application.
He is also accused of telling his son’s solicitors that the references had been provided for use in criminal proceedings with the authors’ knowledge and allowing his son’s advocate to use Mr Djanogly’s and Mr Hassell’s references in mitigating the sentence.
Finally, it is alleged that he caused or permitted Judge Nic Madge to accept the references for use in determining the sentence for his son in respect of the sexual offences. Akthar junior, who had groomed a 15-year-old girl on Facebook, was made the subject of a three-year community order and a 70-day sexual offences treatment programme.
On Friday, Mr Akthar, who was representing himself, was told the case could be dealt with only at crown court and that the charges could result in a custodial sentence. Mr Akthar spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address and said he would be seeking legal advice.
The matter was adjourned until Friday, May 2 when Mr Akthar, who was granted unconditional bail, is due to appear at Cambridge Crown Court.
Executive leader of HDC Councillor Jason Ablewhite said the court proceedings would not affect Mr Akthar’s standing as a district councillor, representing Huntingdon East.
He also represents East ward on Huntingdon Town Council.