Page last updated at 13:29 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Met Commander Ali Dizaei in 'abuse of power'

Ali Dizaei
Dizaei said it was "utter nonsense" to suggest he wanted to start a fight

The downfall of Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei was sparked by a chance encounter in a west London restaurant.

Dizaei - who was earlier convicted of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice - was with his wife at the Persian Yas restaurant when he was spotted by web designer Waad Al-Baghdadi.

Mr Al-Baghdadi was chasing a £600 payment for updating Dizaei's website, alidizaei.com.

Mr Al-Baghdadi had originally been commissioned for a fortnight's work by Dizaei, the former president of the Black Police Association.

But this was said to have turned into several months of demands to continually alter the site with speeches, pictures and articles concerning Dizaei.

The prosecution and defence teams at Southwark Crown Court disagreed on how events unfolded at the Kensington restaurant that Friday night in July 2008.

The prosecution claimed a row broke out between the pair over the work and Dizaei, who was in police uniform after a ceremony for new recruits at Scotland Yard, challenged Mr Al-Baghdadi to a fight in the street.

The Persian Yas restaurant in Kensington, west London
Mr Al-Baghdadi said he was "scared" and "shocked" by Dizaei's actions

The designer, an Iraqi national who has lived in the UK since 2003, said he was left "scared" and "shocked" by the suggestion.

He dialled 999 to ask for urgent assistance from police, it was claimed, but Dizaei, 47, interrupted the call to handcuff and arrest him.

Mr Al-Baghdadi complained in Persian that he was being restrained so tightly he feared his hand or arm might break.

And he compared Dizaei to an aggressive gangster - saying he was like Tony Montana, Al Pacino's character in the film Scarface.

He also claimed Dizaei was drunk.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said Dizaei's insistence that he was entirely innocent was the result of a "wholesale abuse of power by a senior police officer for entirely personal and oblique motives".

Dizaei claimed although he was "firm" with the "threatening" designer, it was "absurd" to suggest he wanted to start a fight, whether in the restaurant or in the street outside.

'Causing a disturbance'

That was "just complete and utter nonsense", he told the court.

He claimed Mr Al-Baghdadi used a "strange" but "threatening" Farsi quote which translated as: "I will take the money out of your throat."

Dizaei was said to have told the 24-year-old: "You are frightening my wife, you are causing a disturbance - just go away."

Defence counsel Michael Mansfield QC claimed there was no intimidation on Dizaei's part and suggested Mr Al-Baghdadi had "lied" to police and "embellished" elements of his story.

Dizaei also claimed he was "stabbed" or "poked" in the stomach, suggesting he had been injured by the metal mouthpiece of a shisha pipe belonging to Mr Al-Baghdadi.

A forensic scientist representing Dizaei agreed with this but Dr Maureen Heath, who examined the officer at a police station, believed marks on his chest and abdomen were more likely to have been self-inflicted.

Ultimately the jury agreed with the prosecution and Dizaei was convicted of both charges against him.

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