One of four people standing trial accused of attacking a group of Muslims in Derby has had the case against him dropped.
Reece Hallas, 19, of Alvaston, had the charge dropped during the trial at Derby Crown Court. The teen, of Ashcroft Close, had been accused of racially aggravated assault following an attack on two men who the court was told “had their heads stamped on”. But yesterday he walked free from court.
Two men – Jake Sutherland, 18, of Hollington, Ashbourne, and Callum Toone, 20, of Field Lane, Alvaston, remain facing the charge while 36-year-old Claire Holdsworth, of Abbey Street, is accused of causing racially aggravated fear or provocation. All of them deny the allegations.
Three men wearing traditional Islamic clothes were allegedly taunted as “terrorists” and attacked by a racist gang as they walked through a Derby street. One of the victims was knocked unconscious while another suffered injuries to his eye and ear after having his head stamped on.
Qasim Ahmed, 18, was one of those injured in the attack. He said he and his brother, Fahiem, and friends had been walking to their takeaway Mamma Mia’s in London Road when they were confronted by an aggressive gang of up to six people.
Mr Ahmed told the court: “We were walking down Oxford Street and they were walking up it. They started shouting racial abuse and gang names. I heard them shout A1 which is a gang name. Most of us were wearing traditional Islamic dress and I felt intimidated because it was a big group. They were hyped up and had drinks in their hands.”
Mr Ahmed said his friend, Zishan Iqbal, was punched in the face: “He fell down and was dazed, he didn’t know where he was and his legs weren’t working.” Mr Ahmed told the court he saw someone trying to kick his brother, Fahiem, in the face from standing but he blocked the kick. He said: “I remember being pushed to the ground and being stamped on. I went into a ball but then I went unconscious.”
Three people remain on trial accused of the alleged attack. Two others have pleaded guilty.
The injured men’s friends, brothers Raqueeb and Tasique Rasool, were also present at the time of the incident, which took place at 4am on August 11 last year.
At the trial, at Derby Crown Court, prosecution barrister Ian Way said the friends had been walking along Oxford Street on the way to Fahiem’s takeaway on London Road. He said: “Some of them were dressed in traditional clothing. They saw five males and one female. Various comments were made to the complainants and they were asked if they were ‘A1’. This was followed by numerous racist insults.”
Mr Way said the men had been called terrorists by the group of six. He told the court: “The group attacked the complainants, punching and kicking them causing injury.”
The trial continues.
See also “Alvaston teenager has Muslim racial attack charge dropped”, Derby Telegraph, 4 December 2013