Police cleared on terror shooting as victim is held over child porn

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The Independent Online

A man who was shot during a botched anti-terrorist raid in Forest Gate, east London, was arrested yesterday on suspicion of child pornography offences.

The arrest came on the same day that an independent inquiry cleared a Metropolitan Police fire-arms officer of deliberately shooting the man in the shoulder. Investigators found evidence that Mohammed Abdul Kahar, 23, was accidentally shot by an officer holding a gun about two inches from his body during a scuffle in the dark.

Mr Kahar had claimed the police did not identify themselves before opening fire, and that there was no struggle with the officers.

The incident, on 2 June, in which up to 250 officers took part in a raid on Mr Kahar's home, followed a tip-off by a police informer that there was a chemical bomb on the premises. The raid, arrest and release without charge of Mr Kahar and his brother caused a backlash within the Muslim community and lead to widespread criticism of the police.

There was further controversy yesterday at the news that Mr Kahar had been arrested on suspicion of possessing and making child-abuse images. He is being held in custody. The arrest is understood to have followed the discovery of images allegedly found on a computer taken from Mr Kahar's home. His solicitors said he "strenuously denies" allegations of possessing child pornography.

During the early morning raid, armed officers dressed in protective suits raided two properties, numbers 46 and 48, in Lansdown Road, Forest Gate, and arrested Mr Kahar and his brother, Abul Koyair. No chemical device or explosive equipment was found.

An inquiry by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), published yesterday, concluded that the shooting was an accident and that no criminal or disciplinary offence was committed.

The IPCC consulted a forensic scientist, who concluded that the weapon was within two inches of the victim when it was fired and that the gun was not in a normal firing position. The scientist found no fingerprints on the trigger of the weapon, suggesting that the police officer, who was wearing two pairs of gloves, fired the gun accidentally. The gun had its safety catch off for a "high-risk entry".

The officer, named only as B6, said he was on a half-landing in the house when he found "two figures approaching from his right at speed". He said he and they came into contact, he lost balance and hit the wall.

B6 told the IPCC he was aware of a person or persons pulling at his right arm and thought they were trying to take his gun. He said that he heard a "pop", but because he was wearing ear protection did not realise it was his gun. He only realised he had fired his weapon when he turned on his torch and saw a man with a red stain on his shirt sitting on the floor. He told the investigators that he then shouted, "man down".

Humeya Kalam, Mr Kahar's sister, said she was "deeply disgusted" by the findings of the IPCC.

* Sir Ian Blair, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, was questioned yesterday by the IPCC over his conduct in the wake of the shooting dead of the Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell Tube station in south London in July last year. Mr Menezes' family claims that Sir Ian misled them after the shootingby anti-terrorist officers.