Call for charges to be dropped against Asian men over Rotherham disorder

Rotherham town centre on the day of the Britain First demonstration last September

Rotherham town centre on the day of the Britain First demonstration last September

A campaign calling for criminal charges to be dropped against a group of Pakistani men allegedly involved in violent disorder after a Britain First demonstration in Rotherham last year has been launched.

Civil rights advocate Suresh Grover, who has previously been involved in campaigning for the family of Stephen Lawrence, has organised a campaign in support of what he is terming ‘The Rotherham 12’.

A public meeting is to take place in Rotherham later this month, with speakers including Imran Khan, the barrister for the Lawrence family, and Muhbeen Hussain, from the British Muslim Youth group which is based in the town.

One of the 12 accused men has already pleaded guilty to a charge of violent disorder in a court appearance in December.

The Crown Prosecution Service today said it intends to proceed with the case against the other defendants.

The remaining 11 defendants face a potential trial in October after entering not guilty pleas.

A separate trial of seven other men from Rotherham and West Yorkshire alleged to have been involved in the disorder is scheduled to follow in November.

But Mr Grover said he will be writing to the CPS ahead of the February 27 meeting asking for the charges against the Asian men to be reviewed and potentially dropped on ‘public interest’ grounds.

“We are saying to the CPS – review the case, look at the evidence and act best,” he said.

Mr Grover said he believes a review of the evidence will show the men were acting in ‘self-defence’.

A CPS spokesperson said: “We are satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and that a prosecution is required in the public interest, given the serious nature of the allegations.”

A spokesman for police commissioner Alan Billings said an inquiry into the policing tactics during the September 5 demonstration is now in its ‘final stages’.

It was ordered after British Muslim Youth called for a ‘boycott’ on cooperation with South Yorkshire Police because the group claimed the force were not doing enough to prevent racially-motivated attacks on the Muslim community.

The meeting is set to take place on Saturday, February 27, at the Unity Centre in St Leonard’s Road, Rotherham. It will start at 1.30pm.

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