LONDON: Judges in a court of appeal reduced the sentence of Lord Nazir Ahmed, who in 2022 was convicted and jailed for five-and-a-half years for abusing two children when he was a teenager in the 1970s.

On Friday, three appeal court judges cut the jail term to two-and-a-half years after finding that the trial judge Justice Lavender “fell into error” when passing the sentence.

Lord Nazir Ahmed, a former Labour politician of Pakistani origin, was found guilty on two counts of attempted rape and one of buggery after a woman told the jurors that he attempted to rape her when he was about 16 or 17 years and she was much younger.

The politician, who was appointed a life peer in 1998 by the Labour government, was also found guilty of a serious sexual assault against a boy under 11, also in the early 1970s.

Justice Lavender had given him a three-and-a-half year term for the offence of buggery against the minor boy, and two terms of two years for each of the attempted rapes.

When Lord Ahmed challenged the decision, the appeal court cut the three-and-a-half year term for buggery to just six months, but upheld the two-year terms — making a total of two-and-a-half years.

The appeal court bench took into consideration Mr Ahmed’s age at the time of the offence, saying that they had to take into account that he was a child when the offences were committed. Had he been sentenced soon after committing the buggery offence, he would have been 14.

They concluded, “A custodial sentence of six months would probably have been regarded as a suitable penalty”.

However, they took a different position in relation to the attempted rape sentences, saying the offences were carried out by a teenager “against a very young victim”.

Two years prior to the trial, in 2020 Lord Ahmed stepped down from his role in the UK House of Lords after 20 years of service, after a report published by the Upper House revealed that a conduct committee recommended he be expelled after an inquiry into sexual misconduct.

Published in Dawn, March 18th, 2023

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