Leeds council could go to court to take back community building at centre of 100-man mass brawl

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Leeds council bosses could be launching legal action to take back a riot-hit community hub which was at the centre of a 100-man mass brawl.

The YEP reported last month how six men have been jailed over the shocking large scale disorder at the Bangladeshi Community Centre in Roundhay Road, in which rival factions attacked each other with knives, hammers, metal bars and machetes.

Riot at Bangladeshi Centre, May 2015

Riot at Bangladeshi Centre, May 2015

The centre is a council-owned building, leased to the Bangladeshi Centre Charity for 50 years.

But a new council report reveals that the authority has now issued a last-chance deadline to the centre’s management to come up with a “joint solution” by the end of the month, or risk losing the building altogether.

The report, to be presented to the council’s cabinet next week, details the huge time and resources spent by the authority and police in trying to resolve issues between the rival groups, but to no avail so far.

It also details “allegations of financial impropriety” at the centre, and says the council is “currently working with both groups to investigate and understand these concerns and to resolve the difficult financial circumstances of the charity as it faces possible bankruptcy”.

Picture shows the Bangladeshi community centre in Leeds, boarded up after the mass brawl. Photo: 
Andrew McCaren/Ross Parry

Picture shows the Bangladeshi community centre in Leeds, boarded up after the mass brawl. Photo: Andrew McCaren/Ross Parry

The documents says the root cause of the riot was an attempted removal of a director from the membership of the charity, which “culminated in a violent public disorder event”.

The report adds that “whilst there has been some progress” in the past few weeks, there is still “potential for continued disharmony”.

The centre’s management now has until the end of this month to come up with a joint solution, and until the end of August to draw up a new constitution.

If this doesn’t happen, or “should the charity become insolvent”, the report says, work will begin with the Charity Commission for the council to take back the building as the sole trustee or ultimately, to “begin court proceedings to recover the asset and run the community centre in the interests of the Bangladeshi and wider community”.

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A total of 32 people have now been prosecuted over the disturbance at the centre, in Harehills, which police said cast the city in a “negative light” as video of the chaos went viral online.

Widespread violence erupted during the annual general meeting at the centre on May 30, 2015.

The trouble continued when one of the rival groups made a phone call to “bring in the cavalry” and more men arrived at the centre armed with weapons.

Body camera footage from one police officer filmed Shamin Hussain striking one of his rivals twice on the head with a hammer, causing him to suffer a fractured skull.

Shamin Hussain, jailed for six years for his part in the brawl

Shamin Hussain, jailed for six years for his part in the brawl

Hussain, 40, of Hares Mount, Chapeltown, was jailed for six years after being found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent, possession of an offensive weapon and violent disorder.

Four other men were each jailed for eight months after being found guilty of violent disorder.

Riot at Bangladeshi Centre

Riot at Bangladeshi Centre

Sarah Champion MP

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