[Tariq Jahan, has declared his intention to pursue a civil case against some of the men acquitted of killing his son in the 2011 riots]
By Alishbah Khaliq
The riots of 2011 began in Tottenham amid controversy about the shooting of 29-year-old Mark Duggan by a police officer. People initially took to the streets to protest for justice, but the incident later escalated into nationwide riots. Two years on, the case of three young men – Haroon Jahan, 21, and brothers Shazad Ali, 30, and Abdul Musavir, 31 – killed during the riots in the Winson Green area of Birmingham has culminated into yet another controversy involving a police inspector; and for their families the seeking of justice continues.
Tariq Jahan, father of Haroon Jahan, has declared his intention to pursue a civil case against some of the men acquitted of killing his son and the two brothers. All eight men accused of murder were discharged by the jury in July last year, after a police inspector’s failure to reveal to the prosecution counsel that witnesses had at first been offered protection from prosecution before it was withdrawn.
Detective Chief Inspector Anthony Tagg was judged by Lord Justice Flaux to have lied during the trial when he declared that this information had been made available to the prosecutors. The prosecution team however, refused that they had been informed. While cross-examining, defence counsel were also not aware of the witnesses’ apprehension about being prosecuted. Due to this the jury were asked by Justice Flaux to disregard a lot of the evidence involved in the case when making their decision.
Although investigations for alleged perjury were made by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) against Inspector Tagg and another police officer, Detective Inspector Khalid Kiyani, neither was prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service. While Inspector Kiyani has retired, whether Inspector Tagg will face any proceedings on the basis of misconduct will be decided by West Midlands Police upon receiving the IPCC report.
Jahan said, “We may never find out for sure who was to blame for the collapse of the case – the police officers or the justice system” but added that he and the families of the deceased will “carry on with the fight” for justice.
Jahan’s appeal for calm helped to quench further potential violence in the aftermath of the hit-and-run incident which took the lives of his son and the two brothers in August 2011. Jahan said then that it was his “religion” and “belief in Allah” which helped him “to cope” with such a tremendous loss.
His composure and display of magnanimity at the time won a Prize of Britain award along with unanimous praise from the police, local councillors and Prime Minister, David Cameron, amongst others. However, while uninsured property-owners incurring damages during that August two years ago were promised compensation under the Riot Damages Act, a father who lost his son still awaits a fitting recompense for his loss.