July 23 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Huntingdon MP Jonathan Djanogly is likely to be called as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former town mayor accused of perverting the course of justice.
Mr Djanogly has been named as one of the witnesses who will testify later this year during the trial of Councillor Saeed Akthar, who is accused of committing a series of acts between September 18 and October 16, 2013, with intent to pervert the course of public justice in relation to his son’s court case.
Cllr Akthar, of Sapley Road, Hartford, is alleged to have asked for job references from Mr Djanogly, Cllr Stuart Hassell and Christopher Tasker for his son Ghafar Akthar, 21, which were intended for use as character references as his son was sentenced for using social media to groom a 15-year-old girl.
The charge also alleges Cllr Akthar falsely told his son’s solicitor that the references were provided for criminal proceedings, causing or permitting the lawyer to rely on the statements written by Mr Djanogly and Cllr Hassell in mitigation, and causing or permitting Judge Nic Madge to accept the character references when sentencing Ghafar Akthar.
The 48-year-old Huntingdon town and district councillor, represented by Allison Summers, denied the offence when he appeared at Cambridge Crown Court, on Monday.
Cllr Akthar, who is also known as Sid, is due to stand trial at Cambridge Crown Court for four days from November 10.
Judge Gareth Hawkesworth told the court that the only person for which attending the trial would be difficult would be Mr Djanogly, adding that the MP would only be needed for an hour-and-a-half.
The Conservative Party has suspended Cllr Akthar, who has also been suspended from the Conservative group at Huntingdonshire District Council.
Cllr Akthar, who represents Huntingdon East on both HDC and Huntingdon Town Council, was released on unconditional bail.
Ghafar Akthar, who appeared at Peterborough Crown Court in October last year, admitted meeting a child following sexual grooming, causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and causing or inciting a child to engage in pornography.
The University of Lincoln student was given a three-year community order with three-years supervision and a 70 day-sexual offences treatment programme by Judge Madge, as well as being ordered to sign on to the Sexual Offenders’ Register.
Ghafar Akthar was also given a restraining order preventing him from contacting the girl for life.