Ali Dizaei: Met Police commander jailed for corruption
- 13 February 2012
- From the section London
Metropolitan Police commander Ali Dizaei has been jailed for three years for misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.
Dizaei attacked Waad al-Baghdadi in Kensington in 2008 after Mr al-Baghdadi confronted him about money he was owed for designing a website.
Southwark Crown Court heard that Dizaei, of Acton, inflicted injuries on himself in order to frame Mr al-Baghdadi.
He denied the charges and will appeal.
He was first convicted in 2010 and served 15 months in prison before his conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal.
BBC Home Affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said it was likely Dizaei would be released after three months due to the time he has already spent in jail.
Imran Khan, Dizaei's solicitor, said his client was "extremely disappointed at the decision".
The jury, who had not been told that Dizaei's earlier conviction had been quashed, heard Mr al-Baghdadi had confronted him at a Persian restaurant in Hammersmith Road, west London, in July 2008 over an unpaid £600 bill.
Dizaei, who is four ranks below the top Met position of Commissioner, argued with him outside and arrested him.
Passing sentence, the judge, Mr Justice Saunders, said: "You are a very senior officer. The breach of trust that the public has placed in you is the more serious because of your senior appointment.
"You have been a role model to many other people as a result of your achievements as a police officer."
Senior Crown Advocate Gaon Hart, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said the officer's corruption was all the more "deplorable" given his position as a highly-ranked commander.
He said: "Dizaei had no proper reason for making this arrest and there was no real evidence that this young man had committed any crime on that day.
"The public entrust the police with considerable powers and with that comes considerable responsibility. Dizaei abused that power and ignored that responsibility."
The jury was told Dizaei claimed he arrested Mr al-Baghdadi after being poked in the chest with the metal mouthpiece of a shisha pipe, but this was disputed by a doctor who examined his injuries.
Dizaei also claimed he suffered a "torrent of abuse" from Mr al-Baghdadi and felt threatened, but prosecutor Peter Wright QC said he was "pursuing a citizen for his own personal motive".
The jury heard that the officer's actions amounted to "wholesale abuse of such power by a senior officer".
Mr al-Baghdadi said he thought justice had been done.
He said: "He did not admit what he did to me and chose to blame everyone else - the CPS, the IPCC, the Metropolitan Police and even racism.
"But the only person to blame was himself. I am happy the jury saw through his lies."
The officer's first conviction was overturned by the Court of Appeal when Mr al-Baghdadi's credibility as the key witness was called into question.
The court heard he was jailed for eight months for claiming pensions and other benefits on behalf of his dead father.
Dizaei's barrister, Stephen Riordan QC, said his client's time in prison had been "extremely difficult" because of his work as a high-profile police officer.
The judge said he took into account the time that Dizaei spent on bail awaiting his second trial in passing a shorter sentence.
He said: "For police officers, sentences of imprisonment are especially difficult, and I am told and accept that you spent a substantial time in solitary confinement as a result of your treatment by other prisoners, as well as suffering assault on two occasions."
Deborah Glass, deputy chair of the Independent Police Complaints Commission, said: "There is no room in the police for corrupt officers, and today's verdict underlines that."
Dizaei is currently suspended from his £90,000-a-year job at the Met.