Page last updated at 13:26 GMT, Friday, 10 July 2009 14:26 UK

Acid attack litigant found guilty

A man who sprayed acid at lawyers when his negligence claim was dismissed by a court has been found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Ashok Mahajan, 55, of Wembley, north-west London, denied three counts, claiming he had only thrown water.

The acid sprayed in the High Court went into pupil lawyer Lucy Colter's eye and mouth and burned her hands and legs.

After the verdict, dock officers surrounded Mahajan and escorted him out of Southwark Crown Court.

I have seen corruption, I have seen conspiracy - I did not want to be tried by this court
Ashok Mahajan, defendant

Judge Nicholas Loraine-Smith remanded him in custody until 21 August and ordered "an assessment of his dangerousness" and psychiatric reports, which hinted at a possible indeterminate sentence.

Mahajan accused the judge of denying him a "fair" hearing at the Old Bailey and said: "I have seen corruption, I have seen conspiracy - I did not want to be tried by this court."

Mahajan, of Penpath Place, had brought a claim against solicitors Hodge Jones and Allen after losing a race discrimination case against employment agency AOC Ltd and Kingston Primary Care Trust.

When the negligence case was dismissed in January 2008 he appealed and represented himself at the High Court in October.

But when the case was thrown out he "hurled abuse at all" and threw acid over the legal team - barrister Richard Liddell, Ms Colter and solicitor Claire White.

'Acutely unpleasant' letters

Ms Colter suffered a mild corrosive burn to her eye from the 32% hydrochloric acid but did not suffer any permanent damage. She also had two burns to her left and right thighs after the acid had burned her tights.

The tape in the court recorded the outburst.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts said Mahajan had previously attacked another lawyer with a shoe following another case.

In 2004 Lord Justice Brooke called Mahajan a "vexatious litigant" and spoke about his "unwillingness to ever take no for an answer".

Mahajan had also sent a string of "acutely unpleasant" letters to another judge.

Following the verdict Mahajan, who represented himself, asked: "I think I have the right of appeal under the Human Rights Act within 28 days?"

The judge told jurors: "There are all sorts of unpredictable cases in the crown court, but that he would go quietly, that I did not predict, which is why there were a number of dock officers around."

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Man 'sprayed acid' at legal team
23 Jun 09 |  London

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