City Watch


Taha Mohammed Aziz (32) admitted perverting the course of justice, by giving false details, on April 15. He was jailed for 18 months.

Aziz also pleaded guilty to stealing £258 worth of perfume from Debenhams store, in Leicester’s Highcross shopping centre, on the same date.

Philip Gibbs, prosecuting, said that Aziz, a father of two, of Elgar Gardens, Nottingham, adopted a friend’s identity after being caught red-handed by security staff.

The friend protested his innocence when summonsed to attend court. The original arresting officer went to the friend’s address, in Nottingham, and confirmed he was not the shoplifter.

Police later identified Aziz from his custody picture.

He appeared in court yesterday via a live video link from jail.

Aziz, in a letter read out, said he lost both parents in Iraq when he was 16.

He committed the shoplifting due to uncertainty about his immigration status in the UK, which was under review.

He said: “I’m ashamed of my behaviour and due to my actions an innocent man was brought before the court.”

Nicola Hornby, mitigating, said: “The defendant’s friend, albeit not close, who was wrongly accused has attended court today to support him and holds no grudge.”

Judge Nicholas Dean, QC, said the friend’s compassion towards Aziz was considerate, “but not very relevant” because of the seriousness of the offence.

He told the defendant: “When arrested you gave details of a friend and he was at some risk of being convicted of something he hadn’t done.

“Perverting the course of justice and exposing someone to such a risk overshadows the offence of stealing the perfume – and you’re a prolific shoplifter.”

“It may be your immigration status has contributed to your continuing to shoplift, but it’s no excuse.”

Source: Leicester Mercury

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