Conviction crushed after court is told Aftab Ahmed’s comments about UKIP candidate were a ‘throw away, angry line’
An entrepreneur has won an appeal after he was convicted of saying he would “behead” a UKIP candidate.
Businessman Aftab Ahmed was given a community order for threatening to kill David Robinson-Young, who was a parliamentary candidate in last year’s general election.
But the 45 year old won an appeal against his conviction on Friday after arguing his words were a “throw away, angry line”.
Mr Ahmed was initially convicted of making threats to kill by magistrates in Newcastle after the call to Mr Robinson-Young on April 21 last year.
The court heard Mr Ahmed found the 62-year-old Newcastle East candidate’s phone number on a UKIP flyer after it arrived through the post at his Gosforth home in the run up to the elections. He then rang him.
Mr Robinson-Young, a former policeman, said he listened patiently for 20 minutes but warned the man he would put the phone down if he did not calm down.
The court heard that, at that point, Mr Ahmed said “Why don’t you f**k off or you will be beheaded next.”
At Newcastle Crown Court on Friday Judge Edward Bindloss, sitting with two magistrates, said the panel accepted Mr Robinson-Young’s account of what happened during the heated conversation in its entirety.
But the judge said Mr Ahmed’s appeal would be allowed on the basis that the panel were not convinced he intended Mr Robinson-Young to believe his warning would be carried out.
Judge Bindloss said: “We cannot say with confidence that that was the appellant’s intention.
“It may have been a throw away, angry line issued by him during a heated conversation, just before hanging up.”
The judge said any anger during the telephone call would be likely to have been generated by Mr Ahmed, because of his “attitude towards UKIP”.
Judge Bindloss added: “We are entirely satisfied, so we are sure the that Mr Robinson-Young’s evidence on the content of the telephone call is accurate and correct.”
The judge said Ahmed’s possible lack of intention behind the angry words meant he won the appeal and added: “It was for that reason and that reason alone.”
Mr Ahmed’s trial by magistrates in November heard how he identified himself as “Mr Khan” to Mr Robinson-Young and said, “Your government has been supporting the bombing of our Muslim brothers in the Middle-East”, which Mr Robinson-Young disputed.
When Mr Robinson-Young told him he would hang up if he continued the alleged abuse, Mr Ahmed made the beheading comment.
At the initial trial District Judge Stephen Earl sentenced Ahmed, of Winchcombe Place, Heaton, Newcastle, to a 12 months community order with a rehabilitation requirement of 20 days.
He also ordered him to carry out 100 hours unpaid work in community and to pay £1,660 court costs and a £60 victim surcharge.
His conviction and the sentence no longer stand.