Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Legal delays let an Iraqi rapist go free in Britain

BBC News:

An illegal immigrant on the run after raping a teenager may have been freed because of bureaucratic delays.

Souny Mustafa, 31, was given a five-year sentence in his absence for the attack on an 18-year-old woman in Derby in April 2005.

He was released on bail as his custody time limit had elapsed before the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) could finish putting together its case.

He was supposed to remain in Doncaster but has not been seen for months.

Police said they suspect he is no longer in the country.

The Iraqi national carried out the sex attack months after his application for asylum was rejected in 2004.

Mustafa, then of Hardwick Street, Osmaston, was arrested on 10 May and remanded in custody to await trial in December.

Time limits are set by the Home Office to govern how long defendants can be kept behind bars pending the outcome of their cases.

In this case, the defendant's custody period had exceeded the usual limit of 182 days.

Derbyshire CPS communications manager Lisa Garnham said: "Prior to the trial, the CPS had requested the results of forensic analysis being carried out on a blood sample. This was evidence without which the case could not proceed.

"Despite a number of repeated requests, we had not received the results by the date of the trial and, consequently, had no choice but to make an application to move the trial to a later date.

"Because of this, we were not in a position to oppose the application for bail."

MURDER: Why was Zelia's killer still in this country?


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