Judges reduce life-long prison term for imam
A MUSLIM leader has successfully appealed against a potentially life-long jail term he was handed for raping a boy and sexually abusing another.
Mohammed Hanif Khan, pictured, was an imam at Tunstall Mosque when allegations came to light that he had carried out sex attacks on the two boys, aged 12 and 15.
Khan, who moved to Bardsley Close, Ellesmere Port, was jailed indefinitely for public protection – which is almost identical to a life term – at Nottingham Crown Court on March 18 last year, after being convicted of two counts of rape and one of sexual activity with a child.
Yesterday, Lord Justice Aikens, Mr Justice Holroyde and Judge Peter Rook QC, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, quashed that sentence, replacing it with a 16-year jail term, plus a five-year extended period of licence.
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The ruling means that Khan will serve eight years behind bars, followed by another 13 years on licence in the community. During that time, he will be closely supervised and could be recalled to prison if he commits another offence.
Lawyers for Khan had initially asked the judges to overturn his convictions, arguing that the trial judge ought to have given a direction to the jury relating to 'possible collusion' between the two boys who were his accusers.
But Lord Justice Aikens, delivering the court's judgement, threw out the conviction challenge, saying there was no arguable case that the trial was unfair.
Turning to sentence, the judge rejected arguments that Khan ought not to have been categorised as a 'dangerous' offender.
However he went on to quash the indefinite sentence, saying that it should only have been used as a 'last resort'.
"There is no force in the submission that the judge applied the wrong test – there was ample evidence to allow the judge to conclude that this appellant was dangerous," he said.
"But the risk posed by this appellant to young boys can safely be managed by a 16-year custodial term with a five-year period of extended licence and a strict sexual offences prevention order."