Former Afghan soldier pulled out knife during confrontation between rival groups in city centre

A former Afghan soldier pulled out a knife following a confrontation between two groups in Wakefield city centre.

Saturday, 12th September 2020, 4:45 pm

Hosein Farhadi was spotted by two police officers armed with a craft knife and moving towards a group of males on Kirkgate as they noticed the groups "squaring up" to each other.

The 27-year-old admitted possessing the lock knife and spare blades during a hearing at Leeds Crown Court.

David Ward, prosecuting, said the officers noticed the group of men at 7.25pm on May 19 this year.

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Kirkgate, Wakefield

They were "gesticulating" to a group across the road in what appeared to be a "heated confrontation", he added.

Farhadi was then seen walking towards a male with the knife in his hand, but was tackled by one of the officers.

Prior to that he was seen dropping a bag which was recovered and found to contain spare blades for the knife.

When interviewed by police he refused to co-operate and gave "no comment" answers throughout.

The court was told that Farhadi had been in the UK since last year and had already been sentenced to seven months behind bars for theft.

A probation report said he had been born and raised in Iran but when he was 19 went to join the Afghan National Army.

Probation officer Ifzal Dalawar told the court: "It was a decision he went on to regret because his parents and family became a target for death threats from the Taliban."

Farhadi tried to return to Iran but struggled because he had no political rights, so made the decision to head to the UK last year.

He is currently seeking political asylum in the UK and is living at the accommodation for asylum seekers at Urban House on Love Lane, Wakefield.

Judge Mushtaq Khokhar: "I'm very sympathetic to your plight in Afghanistan, but as for your status, it's for others to decide.

"The gravity of the offence is that you actually took the knife out of your pocket, whether it's to frighten or to actually use it, and this was in a public place.

"I'm sure you watch the news - there is a lot of crime involving knives in this country and a lot of young people have been killed in the slightest of arguments because knives have been used.

"The courts take a very dim view of those who carry or use knives in the course of confrontation."

Farhadi was jailed 12 months.