A Muslim community leader, Noor Ramjanally, who claimed he was kidnapped by members of the British National Party was caught out lying by covert surveillance cameras designed to protect him, a court heard.
By Andrew Hough
8:00AM BST 09 Jun 2010
The 36 year-old falsely claimed he was abducted at knifepoint by racist thugs from the far-right wing political party after being subjected to hate mail and an arson attack, Chelmsford Crown Court was told.
He had told police he had feared for his life when he was kidnapped in broad daylight from his home in Loughton, Essex on August 24 last year and bundled into a car, it was claimed.
Ramjanally then claimed he was driven to nearby Epping Forest where he was threatened and warned to stop holding prayer sessions he had organised.
But he was caught out lying after detectives viewed CTTV footage from secret cameras installed to protect him after his previous claims that he was being targeted by racist opponents, prosecutors said.
The court heard that at the time of his alleged abduction he was actually “wandering around Homebase”.
Ramjanally, a married father of one, stood trial in his absence on Tuesday charged with one count of perverting the course of justice.
The jury were not told why he did not attend court and were warned by Judge Karen Walden-Smith not to carry out independent research.
Matthew Gowan, prosecuting, told the court that Ramjanally’s story about the alleged kidnapping was “complete bunkum”.
He said that Ramjanally had made up his claims in a call to police that he had been taken by force and later threatened to stop holding Muslim prayer groups.
The court was told that he was one of a group of people who had formed the Islamic community groups, which had allegedly created a “background of tension” that he blamed the BNP for whipping up.
After he had founded the groups several months earlier, he reported a number of incidents to police including a “malicious letter, abuse in the street and a firebomb attack on the front door of his flat.
Mr Gowan said after being released without harm Ramjanally told the media that he believed the far right British National party were responsible for his kidnap.
“It was complete bunkum. He didn’t know one crucial piece of information, a vital piece of the jigsaw puzzle,” Mr Gowan told the court.
“Because of the tensions in the area and the allegations he made during the summer, police were worried about his own safety and unbeknown to him, in order to prevent and detect crime they placed covert secret CCTV cameras in the flat where he lived.
“The prosecution case is that at the time of this abduction was said to have taken place Mr Ramjanally can be shown to be somewhere else.”
He added: “Nothing particular was happening. There is footage of him leaving his flat on his own, going down the stairs on his own and he takes a taxi to Homebase.”
Mr Gowan said that after trawling the CCTV footage, police discovered Ramjanally had walked to the spot on the edge of the forest, where he claimed he was taken by the BNP, where he was seen dialling 999.
The jury were also shown footage from two hidden cameras at his home before he made the call that showed Ramjanally leaving his home, getting into a taxi and being driven to Homebase.
After his arrest Ramjanally told police in a statement that he had got a taxi to Homebase and had walked home before being abducted. But Mr Gowan said that timing did not fit in with the evidence.
Ramjanally denied the charge at an earlier hearing.
The trial continues.