The outcome of the Aston election petition is another stain on the reputation of Birmingham - a stain created by Liberal desperation to hang on to council seats by fair means or foul, even if it means inventing a court case. In doing so, they have contrived to waste half a million pounds of public money on what is little more than a vanity prosecution. The election commissioner, Timothy Straker QC, slammed both of the Liberals for
an unwarranted attempt was made by Mr Aehmed and Mr Ayoub Khan to suggest that Mr Afzal was seeking illegitimately to influence the pursuit of the case
and has reported them to the High Court. The whole case has now been reported to the DPP and to the police.
Amazingly, Cllr Khan - a barrister - claimed that witnesses had been intimidated by Cllr Afzal, but rather than reporting it to the police or even raising it at the start of the trial, he decided to wait almost two weeks before mentioning it - a decision that astonished the commissioner.
The petitioner [Saeed Aehmed] and Mr Ayoub Khan used “unrelated and peripheral events against the First Respondent [Mr Afzal]. This included a scurrilous and unwarranted allegation that he was involved in witness intimidation.
Further, Cllr Khan provided further evidence that was dismissed by the commissioner as
clearly no more than an unsupported and unsubstantiated assertion directed against Mr Afzal
Furthermore, speaking about council hopeful Saeed Aehmed - he of the name change, the commissioner damned him
I have formed a very poor impression of the Petitioner as a witness. In my judgement, having seen him in the witness box and observed him through the trial, I do not consider that I should believe any of his evidence.... unless it is either entirely uncontroversial or independently corroborated
From the Birmingham Post
Describing Mr Aehmed as a "very poor witness", Mr Straker said no medical evidence had been produced in court to substantiate his disability grant or his claim that for several months in 1993 he was drifiting in and out of consciousness. A series of boxes ticked on one of the forms indicated that Mr Aehmed had difficulty in going outside, moving around, taking a bath, climbing the stairs, sitting down and using the toilet. Mr Straker said: "It was being recorded that the Petitioner was, effectively, helpless. This, I consider, was never the position. "If matters were so bad why do the medical records not record such as the position? How is it that the Petitioner now appears healthy with there being credible evidence that at all material times he was an active man anxious to play a role in community affairs?"
Mr Aehmed claims that the NHS have lost the records.
And the dog ate his homework.
We deserve better than this. Resignations are called for - Tilsley can't stand by and say that thre is no reason Ayoub Khan cannot be a candidate. John Hemming's crusade against electoral malpractice doesn't include criticising his colleagues in Birmingham, for some reason. His normally vocal site is silent on the issue so far, although he was swift to demand the expulsion of Labour members accused of electoral malpractice. Tilsley - and the power behind the throne Hemming - want to allow an internal inquiry to sweep things under the carpet. They've had a very public enquiry conducted at our expense - what else is there that could be said?
Even the Post - normally sympathetic - is firing both barrels at the Liberals. Marc Reeves said
My paper will demand the resignation of Aston Lib Dem councillor Ayoub Khan, the cabinet member for local services, because - simply - we've had enough of this city's reputation being dragged through the mud.