Page last updated at 18:26 GMT, Monday, 8 February 2010

Met Commander Ali Dizaei jailed for corruption

Ali Dizaei

Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei has been sentenced to four years for assaulting and falsely arresting a man in a dispute over £600.

Southwark Crown Court was told Waad Al-Baghdadi was arrested by Dizaei in a row over work on the officer's website.

Dizaei, 47, was convicted of both misconduct in a public office and perverting the course of justice.

Prosecutor Peter Wright QC said he was guilty of a "wholesale abuse of power" motivated by self-interest and pride.

Dizaei was ordered to spend two years in prison and two years on licence.

Mr Justice Simon said the sentence included a deterrent element "to send a clear message that police officers of whatever rank are not above the law".

The judge told Dizaei: "You knew how the system worked and you thought you would never be discovered.

"You crossed that line and now stand convicted of these offences."

Commenting after the verdict, Mr Al-Baghdadi said: "I would like to thank all those who listened to me after I made my complaint, in particular the jury who have delivered justice and found Ali Dizaei guilty."

Speaking after the trial, Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson said: "It is extremely disappointing and concerning that this very senior officer has been found guilty of abusing his position and power.

Waad Al-Baghdadi
Mr Al-Baghdadi wanted payment for working on the officer's website

"He has breached that trust and damaged not only his own reputation but that of the entire police service."

Speaking outside court, Gaon Hart, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Mr Dizaei's corruption, which would have been deplorable in any police officer, was all the more so given his position as a highly-ranked police commander.

"The public should have confidence that we will pursue anyone, regardless of their position, where there is evidence that they have committed serious offences of corruption."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said "criminals in uniform like Dizaei" were the greatest threat to the reputation of the police.

The dispute between the men came to a head when Mr Al-Baghdadi, 24, demanded payment from Britain's most senior Asian officer for work on his personal website,

Dizaei and Mr Al-Baghdadi at a police station

Mr Al-Baghdadi, an Iraqi national who has lived in the UK since 2003, told the court he confronted the police officer after seeing him drunk and dancing at the Persian Yas restaurant in Kensington, west London, in July 2008.

Dizaei then produced handcuffs and arrested him.

A police doctor told the court that injuries Dizaei claimed had been caused by Mr Al-Baghdadi were probably self-inflicted.

The court also heard that Dizaei, who had a 24-year police career in the UK, claimed to have received threatening voicemails and text messages from Mr Al-Baghdadi before the incident, but had "accidentally" deleted them.

Mr Al-Baghdadi said he was left "scared" and "shocked" after the incident.

During the trial he likened the "bully" Dizaei to the movie gangster Tony Montana, played by Al Pacino in the film Scarface.

Mr Wright said once Dizaei realised inconsistencies in his account had been uncovered by detectives he attempted to get the case dropped.

CPS spokesman Gaon Hart: "Dizaei abused his position as a senior police officer"

Dizaei is a former president of the Metropolitan Black Police Association.

He had emerged unscathed from a series of earlier inquiries, including a multimillion-pound undercover operation examining claims of corruption, fraud and dishonesty.

He has been suspended on full pay since September 2008, but now stands to be sacked from the Metropolitan Police.

Responding to the verdict, Nick Hardwick of the IPCC said: "He [Dizaei] went on to lie about what had happened and, if he had been successful, Mr Al-Baghdadi may have been sent to prison.

"Dizaei behaved like a bully and the only way to deal with bullies is to stand up to them.

"Corruption comes in many forms and remains a threat to the police service. It requires constant vigilance to fight it."

Last November Dizaei was cleared of misusing his corporate credit card.

He had been accused of spending more than £5,000 on clothes and perfume during a trip to the US but an inquiry by Dorset Chief Constable Martin Baker found no evidence of wrongdoing.

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