Shropshire

Telford child sex trial: 'Doubt' cast on girl's evidence

L-R Hizam, Sulayman, Qasem from Monday 19/11/18 Image copyright Helen Tipper
Image caption Ayad Abdulla Hizam, Ghamer Sulayman and Saleh Qasem deny the charges against them

A barrister representing a man accused of trafficking a 15-year-old Telford girl for sex has raised doubts about her evidence.

Mark George QC, defending Ghamer Sulayman, claimed there was a "large dollop of fantasy" in her account.

He said there were discrepancies between evidence given in court and police statements. Prosecutors say the girl was "scared and coerced" into sex.

Mr Sulayman is one of three Birmingham men on trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court.

The 22-year-old, of Mercia Drive, denies three charges of trafficking and one of rape.

Saleh Qasem, 19, of Poplar Avenue, denies one charge of trafficking and one of sexual assault.

And 21-year-old Ayad Abdulla Hizam, from Bridgecroft, denies four counts of child abduction and four of sexual activity with a child.

Image caption The three defendants are on trial at Shrewsbury Crown Court

Mr George told the jury Mr Sulayman accepted taking the teenager to Birmingham on one occasion, but said she had gone willingly and suggested there was little evidence another visit to Birmingham for the purposes of sex had ever happened.

And he added "one of the hallmarks of a truthful witness is one who is consistent".

Lesley Manley, representing Mr Qasem, raised doubts about her client's ability to arrange or facilitate trafficking.

She said: "Without being unkind to him, he is no help to anyone whatsoever," adding he had got lost on a journey to Telford.

Both barristers admitted it had been a mistake for their clients to lie in initial interviews with police and Mr George called his client "a prize idiot" for doing so.

Mr Hizam has admitted having sex with the girl, after allegedly first contacting her in early 2016, but claimed it was "consensual" and he thought she was 16.

The jury is due to be sent out to consider its verdict on Tuesday, after the bank holiday.

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