Page last updated at 21:06 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Police officer Ali Dizaei denies 'fitting up' claim

Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei
Commander Dizaei allegedly faked injuries on himself

Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei has been accused in court of "fitting up" a web designer who challenged him in a row over money.

Southwark Crown Court heard an argument broke out in July 2008 when Waad Al-Baghdadi demanded £600 for work on Mr Dizaei's personal website.

Mr Dizaei, 47, told the court claims he threatened or challenged Mr Al-Baghdadi, 24, to a fight were absurd.

He denies assault, false arrest and misconduct in public office.

He also denies perverting the course of justice.

Handcuffed and arrested

The court has heard the two men rowed over the money Mr Dizaei could have owed for the website, when they met by chance at the Persian Yas restaurant in High Street Kensington, west London.

Mr Al-Baghdadi, 24, called 999 when Mr Dizaei, former president of the National Black Police Association, allegedly challenged him to a fight in the street outside a restaurant in Kensington, west London.

At that point Mr Al-Baghdadi was handcuffed and arrested by Mr Dizaei.

Mr Dizaei told the court: "I was firm and I said to him, 'You are frightening my wife, you are causing a disturbance - just go away'."

Responding to claims he challenged Mr Al-Baghdadi to a fight, Mr Dizaei said: "It would be absurd to me to point to the crowd and invite Mr Al-Baghdadi there for a fist fight."

Ali Dizaei and Waad Al-Baghdadi
CCTV showed Ali Dizaei talking to Mr Al-Baghdadi outside the restaurant

The court has heard Mr Dizaei told lies and might have faked injuries on himself in an attempt to have the web designer prosecuted.

When asked by Barrister Michael Mansfield QC if this were true, Mr Dizaei replied: "Absolutely not."

But prosecutor Peter Wright QC said the senior officer lied to colleagues about his reasons for arresting Mr al-Baghdadi.

He said he tried to get the case "quietly dropped" to escape the "mess" as inconsistencies in evidence against the younger man were uncovered.

Cross-examining Mr Dizaei, Mr Wright said the officer behaved "most discreditably" and ridiculed claims he acted with "openness and transparency".

He said Mr Dizaei realised alleging Mr al-Baghdadi had assaulted him would be taken extremely seriously and could leave him facing a prison sentence.

Mr Wright said: "You sought to intimidate him at the time you ordered him out of the restaurant didn't you?"

Mr Dizaei replied: "That is not true at all."

Mr Wright said: "Let me put it in different language then, you decided to fit him up didn't you?"

The jury has watched CCTV footage from the restaurant, listened to two 999 calls and heard evidence from waiters and other police officers.

The case continues.

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