Two Sheffield men who were jailed for plotting to flood the city’s streets with hard drugs should have their convictions quashed on human rights grounds, the Court of Appeal has been told.
Ilyas Hanif, aged 46, of Ellerton Road, Firth Park, and Bakish Allah Khan, 36, of Firs Hall Road, Pitsmoor, were among of a group of men convicted of a heroin supply plot in 2007.
They transported six kilos of the Class A drug from Luton to be sold on the streets of Sheffield.
Now they are appealing, after a 2011 ruling by the European Human Rights Court, that their right to be tried impartially was violated by the presence of a police officer on the jury.
Lawyers at the Court of Appeal argued the breach of Article 6 of the Human Rights Convention meant the trial was ‘unfair’ and the pair’s convictions ‘unsafe’.
Mark George QC told a panel of three senior judges the guilty verdicts should be quashed.
In the past certain professions, including that of police officer, were exempt from jury duty, but the law was changed in 2003 to allow serving officers to act as a jurors, the court heard.
But Mr George said the police officer juror knew one of the police witnesses in the case, and they had worked together.
“The fact they’re entitled to serve on the jury doesn’t mean that, in all cases, it will be appropriate for them to do so,” said Mr George.
“In this case, we know the juror was acquainted with the police officer who was the witness.
“He had known this officer for some 10 years and they had worked together on three occasions.”
CPS lawyers are contesting the appeals and have asked the judges to order retrials of Hanif and Khan if their appeals succeed.
Hanif has served the custodial part of his eight-year sentence and has already been released on licence, but Khan is still serving his 15 year sentence.
The judges will deliver their decision at a date to be fixed.