One month ago, former doorman, Shamas Ahmad, was sentenced to five years in prison for Grievous Bodily Harm (GBH) yet his family continue in their fight to appeal the conviction.
On Thursday 8th May, a large group of the 24-year-old’s friends and family held a peaceful protest outside Leeds Crown Court.
Shamas was arrested last year after he was involved in an altercation with a small group who had been ‘causing disruption’ at Leeds’ Bierkeller venue during a night out.
After trying to calm them down, Shamas was allegedly attacked by the group, and in response allegedly hit one of them over the head with a glass four times.
PROTEST: Demonstrators gathered outside Leeds Crown Court earlier this week in support of Shamas Ahmad
Demonstrators argue that the former doorman and Sainsbury’s employee was simply acting in ‘self-defence’ yet he was handed the lengthy prison sentence following his court appearance on the 11th April.
Since then, the family have already held one protest outside the solicitors in Dewsbury which represented Shamas, with this latest demonstration continuing the appeal.
Shamas’ father, Mukhtar Ahmad, remains adamant that his son is innocent and explained why the latest protest was being held outside the Leeds court.
He said: “The main reason we were demonstrating outside the court was to make people aware that, if you are to go in there, you are fully prepared with your defence and a dedicated solicitor.
“We need to highlight the injustice of Shamas and we will be doing some sort of action every week until my son is out.
“He was made out to be a hooligan in court but that is just not him. He has worked in customer service all his life and it is just beyond my comprehension how the whole legal system has let him down here.”
The family have now received the transcripts from court and have handed them over to a new solicitor to see if there is the chance of an appeal.
Mr Ahmad added: “We are very optimistic that a ground for appeals will be found from the court’s transcript, and we will then just take it from there.”
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.
FAMILY: Shamas Ahmad was sentenced to five years in prison earlier this month for GBH and now his family are determined to prove his innocence (l-r) brother, Shahban Ahmad; mother, Tehira Nasreen; father, Mukhtar Ahmad; wife, Ambreen Ahmad; and brother Shabab Ahmad
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.
WIFE: Ambreen Ahmad has been married to Shamas for two years and relies on her husband for support
“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.
PRISON: Shamas Ahmad was sentenced to five years in prison after a dispute in Leeds’ Bierkeller last year resulted in him allegedly hitting a customer with a glass, after Shamas was attacked by a group
“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.
PARENTS: Mr Mukhtar Ahmad and his wife Mrs Tehira Nasreen had to fight back tears as they spoke about their son and pleaded his innocence
“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.