TWO men who took part in a ‘cash for crash’ plot in which an innocent pensioner was killed have been found guilty of manslaughter.
A judge today (Feb 27) returned guilty verdicts after taking the highly unusual step of dismissing the jury part way through a trial after some jurors were offered bribes.
Mr Justice Goss found Sabbir Hussain, 25, and Raja Hussain, 31, guilty of manslaughter after a trial at Leeds Crown Court
A third man, Shahrear Islam- Miah, 26, was found not guilty of manslaughter.
All three defendants were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud.
A fourth man, Muhammed Ubaidullah, 24, has already pleaded guilty to manslaughter, conspiracy to commit fraud and attempting to pervert the court of justice.
All four defendants will be sentenced tomorrow. (Feb 28)
Betty Laird, 88, suffered fatal spinal injuries when the Renault Kangoo she was a passenger in was struck on Old Lane, Beeston, Leeds, on September 10, 2014.
The jury was told a VW Passat was driven into the side of the Kangoo in order to make fraudulent injury compensation claims from insurance companies.
Mrs Laird was in the vehicle with her friend Geoff Grimshaw, 77, at the time of the incident.
Mrs Laird suffered multiple injuries in the collision and died later that evening.
Mr Grimshaw died later of causes unrelated to the collision.
Mr Justice Goss dismissed the jury last Wednesday (February 22) during the third week of the trial.
The decision was made after jurors were filmed when the building was evacuated after a fire alarm was deliberately activated.
Some members of the jury were also approached as they left the court building and offered sums of up to £500 in cash.
Mr Justice Goss said there had been a series of events which demonstrated “concerted attempts” to tamper with jurors.
He chose to take advantage of seldom-used powers under section 46 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 which allows trials to continue without a jury.
Dismissing the jurors, the judge said: “There has undoubtedly been an attempt to tamper with you.”
There had been a series of events after jurors left the court building, on Oxford Row, in Leeds city centre.
Three jurors were walking together near to the city centre when they were each offered £500 by a woman to return guilty verdicts in the case.
The judge said: “One of those three jurors was so upset and felt so disconcerted by what had taken place that they felt unable to serve as a juror.”
Another juror, who had left the court separately, was approached by a man and offered money to return NOT guilty verdicts.
The court heard a fifth juror was also followed by a man holding what was thought to be a sum of money.
The judge continued: “The pursuit was persistent and disconcerted him so that he felt he could not remain loyal to his jury oath.”
In an earlier incident the court building had to be evacuated after an “act of vandalism” then the glass panel of a fire alarm had been smashed.
As jurors from the manslaughter trial were gathered outside the building, some noticed a man drive slowly past in a car and appear to film them.