Arrested Wellgate rally counter-protester tells court “blade” was a “wooden knife”

Arrested Wellgate rally counter-protester tells court “blade” was a “wooden knife”

By Adele Forrest | 04/11/2016 0 comments

Arrested Wellgate rally counter-protester tells court “blade” was a “wooden knife”

A FATHER charged with possessing an offensive weapon during a mass brawl which broke out after a right-wing and counter protest claims he was brandishing a wooden artificial knife and not a blade, a court heard.

Asif Zaman (48), of Wellgate Mount, Rotherham, is also charged with violent disorder along with nine other men after trouble broke out on Wellgate following a Britain First rally and counter protest on September 5, 2015.

Zaman and his fellow Asian defendants clashed with right-wing members outside the William Fry pub.

Prosecutor, Mr Paul O’Shea, has previously told the court the trouble was started by the right-wing members who shouted racist abuse at passing Asian men, “but got more than they bargained for” after becoming outnumbered by men on the way home from the counter protest.

CCTV footage of the incident was played to the jury.

During cross-examination, Mr O’Shea, said Zaman could be seen running towards the pub, where right-wing members were stood outside, holding a knife.

Mr O’Shea said: “On the CCTV footage you have the knife in your hand, whoever it was you display it to didn’t fancy their chances and turn their back on you and run.

“That person is not a shrinking violet when it comes to disorder — that person sees a knife, that’s what it was.”

The defendant said he had run towards the pub because he was concerned his 16-year-old son and other children were being assaulted in the snicket next to it.

Zaman told the court he was brandishing a wooden, martial arts training aid that he had retrieved from his car to act as a deterrent and for self-defence — not a knife.

Mr O’Shea said Zaman could also be seen throwing something during the fracas, the defendant said it was likely to be bottle fragments that had hit him after it landed near him.

The prosecutor asked why Zaman did not go home after he ran back to his car to dispose of the weapon.

Zaman, who is the first defendant to give evidence, said: “I didn’t want to lead them to my house.”

Mr O’Shea said: “But they have not followed you up your street.”

Zaman answered: “They are at the bottom throwing objects and bottles at me, I’m not going to lead them to my house where my disabled mum is.”

Zaman ran off because he saw the police coming, Mr O’Shea claimed.

Zaman replied: “The whole problem in Wellgate was no-one saw the police”.

The prosecutor said Zaman was asked by police in his interview if he saw anyone with any weapons during the trouble, to which he replied “just the glasses and bottles”.

Mr O’Shea said he had lied to police and was delaying time to get his story straight.

Zaman said he did not consider the wooden sticks to be a weapon.

All the defendants deny the charges.

The other defendants charged with violent disorder are:

Mohammed Saleem (44), Mount Street, Masbrough.

Nasrum Rashid (22), Fraser Road, Broom.

Moshin Mahmood (18), James Street, Masbrough.

Abrar Javid (38), St John’s Road, Eastwood.

Sadaqat Ali (40), Milton Road, Eastwood.

Imran Iqbal (30), Clough Road, Masbrough.

Arshad Khan (45), Wellgate Mount, Rotherham.

Shaban Ditta (32), Cambridge Crescent, East Dene.

Akaash Nazier (22), Cow Rakes Close, Whiston.

Two men who were charged in connection with the same incident — Haseeb Alam (19), of Selwyn Street, Eastwood, and Mahroof Sultan (37), of Grosvenor Road, Eastwood have both pleaded guilty and will be sentenced at the end of the trial.

The trial continues.

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