Asians cleared of revenge attack on armed white youth: The decision to charge three Bengalis after a confrontation provoked by white youths has angered their community. Heather Mills reports

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THREE Asians were cleared yesterday of taking the law into their own hands when confronted by a gang of racist youths in north London.

Sahab Uddin, Abdul Gofur and a teenager had been accused of a revenge attack which left 20- year-old Robert Faulds with stab wounds and a fractured skull.

Surrounded by the men's jubilant supporters outside Snaresbrook Crown Court in north London, their lawyer, Abdul Kapadia, demanded a full inquiry into the prosecution.

'Questions have got to be asked about the way this whole case has been handled and whether the case should have come to court against these Asian defendants who were simply defending themselves and their community against a violent attack instigated by white youths,' he said.

'The prosecution conceded the white youths were armed and intent on a racial attack on law abiding citizens.'

Mr Kapadia was critical of the police who arrived at the disturbance more than 30 minutes after they received an emergency call. 'If the police had arrived earlier this matter would not have gone as far as it did.'

The court had heard that Mr Faulds and four white friends had armed themselves with hammers and knuckle-dusters and gone 'looking for trouble' with members of the Bengali community in Drummond Street, Camden.

Although Mr Faulds and the others were initially accused of violent disorder, a magistrate dismissed the charges because of insufficient evidence.

Yesterday, the three Asian men were cleared of causing violent disorder on 28 April last year. Minutes later, the prosecution offered no evidence against Mr Uddin and the teenager in relation to a charge of causing Mr Faulds grievous bodily harm.

During the trial, the jury was told that the Bengali community in the Euston and Camden areas had been subject to a number of racial attacks.

Nicholas Loraine-Smith, for the prosecution, said the violence was started by Mr Faulds and his gang after they drove into Drummond Street. Word had spread among the Bengali community, who had 'armed themselves and were ready', after hearing that two Asian youngsters had been chased into a foodstore by racists armed with weapons.

It had been claimed by the Crown that the three defendants were part of a larger group who 'turned self-defence into retaliation'. Mr Loraine-Smith had alleged they 'went well beyond self-defence' while Mr Faulds was lying on the floor.

However, Mr Gofur, 36, of Drummond Street, told the court he was looking for his son when he was caught up in the fighting.

Sahab Uddin, 24, of Camden, insisted he had only been defending himself and his community. He admitted hitting Mr Faulds once on the back with an iron bar to keep him down until police arrived.

Mr Gofur, Mr Uddin and the teenager had all denied all of the charges.

(Photograph omitted)