Bedfordshire Police and Crime Commissioner -  
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FIRST UK TRIAL ON CAMERA MEANS CRIMINALS CLAIMING ILL HEALTH NO LONGER ESCAPE CONVICTION
PCC Kathryn Holloway says the UK’s first live trial on video is the way ahead to bringing criminals to justice who have previously tried to evade the courts.

Her comments came after Farouk Kootbaully, 71, of Wigmore Lane, Luton, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a child over several years. Kootbaully was the first defendant in the UK to face examination via a video link from his home, having claimed ill health prevented him from attending a court trial.

He faced 8 charges of indecent assault on a child between April 1988 and August 2001, starting when the girl was just 8 years old.

“This conviction is a tribute to the relentless dedication of the investigating officer DC Sharon Ellis who would not take no for an answer when it came to bringing this man to trial, in view of his sickening predatory behaviour towards this child, which has hung over her for more than 15 years.

“Bedfordshire Police used the video link from the defendant’s home to bring his testimony before the judge and jury and it paid off in what is a legal first in the United Kingdom. This also shows abusers of children from some years ago that there is nowhere to run to – you will be held to account and the excuses of the past will not prevent you from being punished for that past anymore,” said Commissioner Holloway.

Kootbaully, who had pleaded not guilty for the offences, was found guilty by a jury in unanimous verdicts on all eight counts.

He will now serve sentences concurrently on all eight charges, totalling 10 years behind bars. He was also made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Restraining Order.

DC Ellis described the precedent set by the case saying: “This is the first time in the whole of the UK that Assistive Technology has been used to enable a defendant to attend trial via his home address.” The court had provided temporary internet access to his home and fitted a live-link facility from his bed to enable Kootbaully to give evidence.

“Just because time has passed does not mean the original crime has diminished or does not deserve punishment. This child, now a woman, deserved justice even if she had to wait for new technology to allow her to see it being done,” said Commissioner Holloway.
 
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