Jailed: Birmingham Airport baggage handler who raided passengers’ suitcases

Rajesh Taheem
Rajesh Taheem

A baggage handler from Birmingham airport has been jailed for plundering holidaymakers’ suitcases of iPads, Iphones and Macbooks over an 18 month period.

Rajesh Taheem, 45, used his position as a bag technician at Birmingham International to loot passengers’ luggage before it was loaded onto departing flights.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how travellers only knew they had been targeted when they arrived at their destinations to find their property missing.

Jailing Taheem, of Wolverhampton, for 20 months after he admitted nine charges of theft, Recorder Christopher Tickle told the family man: “You had a good job and a good salary, were a valued member of society.

“You had a particular degree of trust because you were looking after and handling luggage that could belong to anyone in this room, in this building, going through the airport.

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How to win friends and influence people, Birmingham Crown Court style

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By way of background, this was a defendant listed for a hearing over an allegation he had breached his community order (imposed for an earlier offence).

The case was listed for 2pm and, at around 2.05 he was called into the dock, only to be told moments later his case would be heard later.

The following Tweets begin as he had taken his place in the public gallery.

Now, when his case was finally called on, the defendant denied the breach and said he had medical reasons for not attending probation appointments.

Stress and anxiety, he said, meant he could not use public transport, and because his driving licence had been taken off him unlawfully (and since returned), he couldn’t get to his probation appointments.

Most defendants, by the time they reach court, are fairly compliant. This chap was shouting over the judge, ranting in the dock and generally causing a bit of a fuss providing a bit of colour for a Friday afternoon.

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Dough! Driver jailed over attempt to be fastest pizza delivery man in the West…Midlands

Picture from West Midlands Police
Picture from West Midlands Police

A pizza delivery man’s attempt to emulate Benny Hill’s eponymous milkman Ernie landed him in jail after he was spotted jumping five red lights on a busy Birmingham road.

Rizwan Tasib, 27, who had no licence, a driving ban and had taken his dad’s Toyota car without permission was spotted by an off duty cop driving in an “appalling” manner.

The pizza man, of Stechford Lane, barely touched the brakes as he jumped red lights along Bromford Lane in Birmingham on the night of August 28 as he tried to be the fastest delivery man in the West.

A judge described dad-of-one Tasib as a “menace” and “a death waiting to occur.”

He admitted dangerous driving, aggravated vehicle taking, possession of cocaine, driving with no insurance and while disqualified at an earlier hearing at Birmingham Magistrates Court.

Appearing for sentence at Birmingham Crown Court he was jailed for 15 months.

Recorder Stephen Lowne said; “In short you are a menace on the road, a death waiting to occur.
“I can’t take any chances with you whatsoever.

“You are a significant danger on the road.

“In my judgement a suspended sentence would allow you to offend again and risk killing someone.”

Tasib was spotted by off-duty Sgt Simon Patten at around 11pm on August 24 on Bromford Lane near junction six of the M6 motorway.

The pizza delivery driver overtook the cop and jumped a red light.

Patrick Sullivan, prosecuting, said; “He didn’t even slow down, he didn’t brake.

“The officer followed around 50m behind and came to a second set of red lights at Fort Parkway.

“They were going from red to amber and other cars were waiting in a queue – he went straight through.

“Onto the next crossing where Bromford Road meets Bromford Lane, even at that time of day there is a lot of traffic so to go through those lights on red is extremely dangerous.

“Two vehicles has to slow down to avoid what would have been an inevitable collision if they had not taken action in the notorious accident black spot.”

Mr Sullivan described the road as a main arterial route through the city and said Tasib jumped a further two red lights before stopping.

“It was a piece of driving the officer found appalling.

“(Tasib) pulled up outside Pizza Masters and got out.

“He was a delivery man – he had pizza bags in hand that keep the pizza warm.

“He was calm and said he had to deliver money to the owners, he conceded he had no excuse (for the driving) and conceded it was his father’s car.”

During police interview he tried to claim he thought he was being followed by somebody who wanted to harm him but eventually admitted all of the charges against him.

Rashad Mohammed, defending, said Tasib had tried too hard to impress the manager of Pizza Master in an effort to land a job.

He said; “The pizza shop was in the process of offering him a job and they asked him to demonstrate the speediness of his deliveries.

“That may be an explanation in part of why he was driving this way on that particular day.

“His driving was clearly dangerous and it was fortune, rather than judgement, that there was no collision.

“The driving was really short-lived and the defendant was not speeding to great excess.”

Tasib was also banned from driving for five years and ordered to take an extended test.

JAILED: Drunk driver who narrowly missed runners at the Morrison’s 10k Fun Run in Birmingham

Ibrar Boston

Runners were forced to dive out of the way of a drunk driver who burst onto the course of a 10k family fun run while more than twice the drink drive limit.

Jobless Ibrar Boston, 36, swerved and drove at speed in a blue Renault Megane along cordoned off roads in Birmingham during the Morrison’s Fun Run in May.

He missed competitors by inches.

Thousands of runners, including Game of Thrones star Jerome Flynn, took part in the inaugural run through the city.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how Boston, of Cooksey Road, Birmingham, drove over a grass verge to get around barriers.

When confronted by police, he reversed at speed before driving around cones into a lane where runners were taking part in the race on Pershore Road in the city centre.

He went on to plead guilty to dangerous driving and drink driving.

Judge Paul Farrer, QC, jailing Boston for 14 months said;  “You were drunk and chose to drive away from the police.

“You put numerous members of the public in very real and immediate danger.

“I have no hesitation concluding an immediate sentence of imprisonment is demanded here.”

He told the disgraced driver, who had previous convictions for being drunk behind the wheel: “You pulled through cones and swerved towards runners, you undoubtedly would have struck a number of those runners if they hadn’t taken evasive actions.

“The fact there were no serious injuries was not by virtue of care where you are concerned.

“It’s is by virtue of fortunate happenstance those runners managed to get out of the way.

“You missed one of them by inches.”

Boston then drove away at speed before ploughing into metal barriers on nearby Gooch Street suffering a fractured skull.

Despite his injury he managed to climb out of the passenger side door and tried to escape on foot before being snared by police.

A breathalyzer three hours later revealed Boston was still twice over the drink drive limit blowing 70mg of alcohol per 100ml of breath.

Ibrar Boston, jailed for 14 months for dangerous driving and drink driving. Boston, 36, drove onto the course of the Morrison's Birmingham 10K in May 2015 narrowly missing runners.

David Bennett, prosecuting, said a drunk Boston first approached a cordon near Pershore Street in the city centre where competitors were still running.

He told a race marshal he was trying to get to his his pregnant wife.

Mr Bennett said; “The marshal prevented the defendant driving onto the course.

“He reversed at speed and pulled a hand brake turn.

“The marshal described him as smelling of alcohol and being as high as a kite.”

It was ten minutes later Boston drove over a grass verge onto a cordoned-off section of the race route.

He ended up trapped behind a council bin lorry and was shouting at the driver when a police motor biker approached him.

Boston got back into his car and, despite being told to turn off the engine, reversed, narrowly missing the cop, then drove onto the other side of the road where competitors were still running.

Mr Bennett said; “There were hundreds of people on the other side of the road.

“He headed towards runners who jumped out of the way to avoid being struck.

“The defendant approached some competitors from behind missing them by centimetres.

“As they realised what was going on they jumped out of the way.”

Boston was also banned from driving for four years and a month and ordered to pay the £900 criminal court charge.

Simon Williams, defending, said Boston had got his life on track between 2010 and this year when working for Jaguar.

However he turned to drink when made redundant in January.

Mr Williams told the court; “Not even he can explain why he behaved in that manner on that day.

“The only thing he can offer the court is sorry.

“He has no answer but is deeply ashamed, shocked and remorseful.”

Taking the plunge…

Shorthand

After several years working in the regional press I recently decided the time was right to take the plunge and go freelance, leaving my role as court reporter for the Birmingham Mail behind.

Over the last 18 months or so with the Mail I had the privilege of scouring the city’s courts looking for stories to report on and I loved every minute.

It will come as no surprise then in the exciting (scary) new freelance world before me that I plan to make courts my focus.

Hopefully over the coming weeks and months I’ll be able to carry on reporting on cases that are of interest, alas it will be under my own steam and without the safe haven of a newspaper to write for.

Such a large change means the way I use this blog will also take a bit of a shift. While I still hope to analyse some of the cases I come across it will also become a showcase for my work as I try to craft a living from the comings and goings in our courts.

While not restricting myself purely to court coverage, posts here will focus entirely on the justice system.

Of course, should this venture fall flat on its face in a few months this blog may be covering what products I placed on which shelf in a well known supermarket.

Wish me luck!

It’s Too Expensive…

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During a short hearing at Birmingham Crown the other day I got a glimpse at what’s right around the corner for our courts.

A defendant appearing for breaching a suspended sentence order had no barrister and told the judge: “They’re too expensive.”

Self-employed and earning a maximum of £300 a week, he said he had been quoted £480 for a lawyer to attend and make representations for what would be a 30 minute appearance.

He was told matter-of-factly by the judge: “You’re here for breach of a suspended sentence, the starting point is you go down for this. You need a lawyer as much as anyone who comes before this court.”

For those unaware, solicitors across the country, as of July 1, have ceased accepting new work under the Legal Aid scheme after a further 8.75% cut to fees imposed by the Ministry of Justice kicked in last week.

I don’t know about the Legal Aid situation of suspended sentence man – who was given a two week stay to raise the cash for a lawyer. What I do know is such scenes are set to become more common. The difference will be that two weeks, two years or two decades won’t be enough for many defendants to fund a legal defence.

For a better analysis of the situation, how we ended up where we are and what the future holds, check out the excellent blog over at Jack Of Kent that provides better insight than I could of the picture overall.

The MoJ insist it’s business as usual in the court system which, even if true (and I doubt it is), that won’t remain the case.

As more and more defendants, facing the most serious charges, find themselves without a lawyer, the system could grind to a halt.

The alternative is to proceed with defendants representing themselves. This is like telling someone who can’t afford a dentist to fill their own tooth, can’t afford a doctor? Do your own heart bypass.

Expecting someone without qualification to argue against a serious charge, with complicated legal issues and procedures, makes a mockery of the Rule of Law, something Justice Secretary (and Lord Chancellor)  Michael Gove has a constitutional duty to uphold.

Part of the problem is public image. Legal Aid just isn’t very sexy. Most people never need it so see the cost as throwing money down the drain on criminals.
The problem is that ignores the notion of innocent until proven guilty. It’s also short sighted of people to think they’ll never need a lawyer.

If you happen to hit someone in your car and kill them you could easily be staring down the barrel of a death by dangerous or careless driving charge. If that happens and you have no cash for a qualified lawyer, you’ll have to navigate the process alone and with little advice.

Justice comes at a cost. It’s a cost we all pay so that we all have access to an essential service if and when we need it, much like national insurance covers us should the worst happen.

At no time should a defendant, facing charges against the might of the state, find themselves in a situation where, fighting for justice, they have to tell a judge: “It’s too expensive”.

Children’s doctor attack – extended sentencing remarks.

Pic Credit: WMP

Being in court all the time it’s almost inevitable you become desensitised to the various vile things people find to do to other human beings. Even so this case of an attack on a paediatrician in Birmingham City Centre struck a sour note.

For various reasons this one hit pretty close to home. Even putting that aside the gratuitous nature of Leon Taylor’s attack on an innocent victim just made me seethe at the pointlessness of it all. On top of everything, his actions caused the victim, understandably, to quit the UK, leaving Birmingham worse off to the count of a highly qualified children’s doctor.

Taylor (pictured above), aged 19, of no fixed address, who is expecting his first child with his partner, was caught when he was identified by the mum of a friend following a CCTV appeal.
That friend, Harry Sutherland, 20, from Stourbridge, pleaded guilty to possession of an offensive weapon and received a suspended sentence.

Taylor was jailed for four years and eight months. For a young man that’s a long time. But it was the sentencing comments by His Honour Judge Richard Bond that I thought hit the nail on the head. Some are in the full story published on The Birmingham Mail website (link above). Here is an extended version where the judge pretty much said everything I would have wanted to be said. Continue reading