‘We will fight on’ ‘Devastated’ family to appeal five year prison sentence for ‘innocent son’
A family from Leeds have said they will ‘do whatever it takes’ to prove the innocence of their youngest son after he was handed a five year prison sentence earlier this month.
24-year-old Shamas Ahmad, from Beeston, was sentenced by the Leeds Crown Court on Friday 11th April following his conviction for Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) in July last year.
Whilst working as a doorman at an establishment in Leeds, Shamas was involved in a dispute with a group of customers and it is alleged that he struck one of them ‘four times’ with a glass.
However, following the father-of-one’s sentencing, his family are adamant that he is innocent and was purely ‘acting in self-defence’ after being attacked by a group of between eight and ten customers.
Shamas’ father, Mukhtar Ahmad, spoke emotionally about his son and his disbelief at the court’s final verdict.
“He is my youngest of four sons so he is the favourite I think it is fair to say,” he said. “We were all just shocked when we heard ‘five years’ because he has always insisted on his innocence.
“He has a wife, a child and works in Sainsbury’s. He is not a violent person and he is my carer. I don’t know what I would do without his help.
“We are not a rich family but we will do whatever it takes to prove his innocence, and if it means we have to re-mortgage then that is what we will do.”
Shamas is the youngest of four brothers and finished working as a doorman following the incident, taking up a full-time position at one of Leeds’ Sainsbury’s stores.
Having previously never been in trouble with the police, his brothers, Shahban and Shabab expressed their disappointment at the way the whole case was handled.
“At the beginning we weren’t fully prepared because it wasn’t until about two weeks before the actual trial that we realised how serious the charge was,” Shabab explained.
“I know my brother and if there was any small inkling that he was guilty we wouldn’t be having this conversation now. From the very start, when he was taken to the police station, he didn’t ask for a solicitor because he knew in himself that he was innocent and hadn’t done anything wrong.
“His glowing character reference from his manager at Sainsbury’s also shows that this is completely out of his character.
“He was a doorman and was there to protect others but they’ve made it out as if he had gone crazy.”
Five witnesses spoke against Shamas at the trial, whilst the family’s only witness, a fellow doorman at the establishment, attempted to proclaim his former colleague’s innocence.
This was another thing the family say was ‘unjust’ with the cross examinations reportedly taking longer for the five witnesses than their own.
“Eric (Shamas’ witness) was examined and cross examined within 15 minutes whilst their five witnesses took hours each on the stand,” Shabab continued.
“It just seems that the whole case was rushed and because of that important details were overlooked.
There wasn’t any CCTV in operation until two days after the event took place and by then it was too late.
“Their witnesses, most of them had been drinking all day so were drunk at the time of the event, almost all contradicted each other’s’ statements.
“Even our solicitor, Nasser Ali Khan, did not seem to have sufficient paperwork for the defence; it was only five pages of A4 in length and when we tried to question him on it he wouldn’t answer.”
The family have 28 days from the date of the sentencing to appeal and are currently waiting for the court’s transcripts to come through the post – something which has cost them £2,500 to obtain.