International

Crown Prosecution withdraws charges of sexual grooming against journalist Hasan Suroor

A video grab from the sting operation carried out by an anti-paedophile vigilante group on British Indian columnist Hasan Suroor.

A video grab from the sting operation carried out by an anti-paedophile vigilante group on British Indian columnist Hasan Suroor.  

The charges of sexual-grooming filed by the Crown Prosecution Service against London-based Indian journalist and writer Hasan Suroor last November have been withdrawn for lack of evidence, although the judge hearing the case at the Blackfriars Crown Court has set the date for formally declaring Mr. Suroor, “not guilty” on June 24.

Mr.Suroor was ‘trapped’ by a vigilante group at a spot in south London and subjected to aggressive and threatening questioning by the group. The Crown charged Mr. Suroor with violating Section 16 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (sexual grooming of a child) and Section 1(1) of the Criminal Attempts Act (1981).

The Crown formally withdrew charges as its chief witness Jonathan Clark, a member of the vigilante group, withdrew his support for the prosecution and failed to appear. Further, Mr. Suroor has no digital footprint of grooming, which is common marker of online sexual grooming, his lawyer Paul Mason told The Hindu.

The Judge has stated that no evidence will be offered at the next hearing and the formal verdict of “not guilty” will be made even if Mr. Clarke changes his mind and states he will give evidence. Mr. Suroor has been provided with a copy of the Court’s intention.

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 9:00:36 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/Crown-Prosecution-withdraws-charges-of-sexual-grooming-against-journalist-Hasan-Suroor/article14391837.ece

Next Story