Ali Dizaei 'abused police powers'

 

The most senior Metropolitan police officer to be charged with corruption in 34 years went on trial today accused of abusing his office like a “bully” to arrest a man and falsely claim he was assaulted.

Prosecutors say Commander Jamshid Ali Dezaei, a former president of the National Black Police Association, committed “wholesale abuse” of his powers as a police officer when he arrested Waad al-Baghdadi in July 2008 following an argument.

The court heard how events centred around a dispute between the pair outside the Yas Persian restaurant on the Hammersmith Road. Mr al-Baghdadi, 28, had been trying to speak to Commander Dizaei when the confrontation took place because he was owed money over a personal website he had built for the 49-year-old police officer, jurors were told.

Peter Wright QC, prosecuting, said the Iraqi-born web designer was seeking £600 for work done on AliDizaei.com, a personal website that Commander Dizaei had commissioned him to build

The pair remonstrated with each other inside and outside the restaurant before Mr al-Baghdadi walked away to his car. He was then chased by Commander Dizaei and was arrested in what prosecutors described as “a total fabrication”.

“We allege the criminal misconduct on his [Dizaei's] part was purporting to act as a police officer protecting citizens,” Mr Wright said. “He was in fact pursuing a citizen for his own personal motive.”

Commander Dizaei, who rose to become one of the Met's most senior ethnic minority police officers in overall charge of ten borough commanders, is charged with one count of misconduct in public office. He has also been charged with perverting the course of justice by making up a series of lies to justify Mr al-Baghdadi's arrest in the hours afterwards.

The £90,000 a year senior officer, who wore a navy blue suit with a white shirt, denies all charges against him. His trial, which is expected to last five weeks, is a retrial.

Mr Justice Saunders reminded jurors to try the case only on the evidence presented to them in court. "You will hear that this is a retrial because it may be that witnesses will be asked what was said at the previous trial,” he said. "You are not concerned with what happened at that trial, nor are you concerned with any other hearing."

Commander Dizaei claims he arrested Mr al-Baghdadi because he had become abusive and attacked him with the mouthpiece of a shisha pipe. He was held in custody for 24 hours and remained on bail until September.

Jurors were shown CCTV images of the pair arguing outside the Yas restaurant resulting in Mr al-Baghdadi walking away to collect his car on nearby Avonmore Road. As he walked he made an eight minute call to the emergency services alleging that Commander Dizaei had threatened him.

The phone call, which was played to the jury, ends with Commander Dizaei talking to the police operator and informing her that he is about to make an arrest.

The prosecution say that the phone call reveals that while Mr al-Baghdadi was “anxious and alarmed” there is no suggestion in those eight minutes that he had assaulted Commander Dizaei.

Meanwhile the prosecution said they would introduce evidence from Dr Maureen Heath, a police medical examiner, who wrote that Commander Dizaei’s injuries were “consistent with self-inflicted injuries.”

Opening the prosecution’s argument, Mr Wright said it would be up to the jury to decide whether Commander Dizaei had legitimately arrested Mr al-Baghdadi or not.

“[This case] involved bullying, intimidating and threatening,” he said. “As citizens of this country we entrust those appointed as police officers with considerable powers. With the granting of power there comes attendant obligation - the obligation to discharge the power bestowed on the officer fairly, impartially and honestly without fear or favour, prejudice or disfavour. It does not involve the use of these powers to pursue a fellow citizen for a personal, or what may be described as, an oblique motive.”

The trial continues.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence