One of Oldham’s most controversial political figures in recent years, Khazir Rehman, has been defeated in a defamation and harassment claim brought against him by Cllr Riaz Ahmad, a long serving Member of Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council and former Mayor. Hugely respected, locally and regionally, Cllr Ahmad is also a magistrate, school governor and college governor. A chartered account, he runs his own accountancy and audit firm.
In a judgment handed down remotely earlier today, although dated 26th December, 2021, the judge, Master Victoria McCloud, struck out the Defence to the Claim, and entered judgment for Cllr Ahmad, with remedies to be determined at a disposal hearing, if not agreed beforehand. It followed an application dated 5th February, 2021 to strike out Rehman’s defence to Cllr Ahmad’s libel and harassment action, or alternatively for summary judgment.
The core of the claim is a large number of harassing and defamatory posts made on both Facebook and Twitter against both Cllr Ahmad and Dr Zahid Chauhan, also an Oldham councillor. The judge was unpersuaded by Rehman’s argument that he had the protection of the public interest and freedom of expression.
At a hearing in the Royal Courts of Justice in April, 2021, Rehman conceded that he could no longer pursue ‘truth’ as defence. The hearing of the claim was resumed on 27th October, 2021 at which Rehman advanced arguments, unsuccessfully and absent of focus, on the arguments around Article 10 of the European Human Rights Convention. He admitted before the judge that any assertion he had previously made regarding the involvement of Cllr Ahmad in inappropriate relations with a minor were untrue and neither the police, nor the Standards Committee of Oldham Council had found any factual basis for such claims, whatsoever.
Master McCloud summarised thus: “Insofar as Article 10 is implicitly prayed in aid as a type of trump card, permitting [Mr Rehman] to say whatever he wishes to say as part of the falling out [with Cllrs Ahmad and Chauhan], it cannot have the effect of ousting the clear law which exists in relation to what one needs to be able to plead to establish a defence under section 4 [of the Defamation Act, 2013]”
In regard to the defence over the harassment claim, it amounted, according the court judgment, to little more than a blank denial, with little or nothing in the way of recognisable particulars pleaded.
In summary, although the judge benevolently avoids saying so, the Rehman defence was hopelessly misconceived from the outset.
An Order detailing the costs and damages awarded against Rehman will be handed down to the parties, by the judge, within 5 days.
36 year old ‘Kaiser’, as Rehman is better known, is a former Labour councillor and describes himself on social media as a real estate and public affairs consultant; renowned electioneer and a Conservative.
Last year he was convicted at Tameside Magistrates’ Court of harassing Dr Chauhan and handed an eighteen month jail sentence, suspended for two years.
His friend and political ally, Mossley-based agitator, Raja Miah, coincidentally faced harassment and malicious communications allegations at the same court on the same day, 3rd February, 2022 (read more here). Miah was originally a party to the defamation and harassment action, brought by Cllr Ahmad, but reached a compromise settlement that included an apology, a payment to charity and the removal of offending materials.
Rehman is also facing enforcement action taken by Oldham Council over a large debt believed to be connected to unpaid costs orders made against him at the conclusion of failed legal action against the council. He has complained on social media that he faces losing his home in the Coppice area of Oldham as a result.
Earlier this week, Rehman published on social media a letter to him from the Home Office in which he was censured over leaking confidential information connected to the Oldham Child Sexual Exploitation Assurance Review in which he is a stakeholder. He was reported to the solicitor acting for the Review team but it is unclear at this stage what, if any action, will be taken against him.
Rehman has gone on to compound that misdemeanour by leaking a copy of the same confidential Assurance Review document to the author of this article, Neil Wilby, shortly after publication. He claims it supports an argument that the judgment of Master McCloud is flawed (read more here).
The Conservative Party in Oldham and Saddleworth has been approached twice, over the past two weeks, for a statement on the membership status of a man who presents himself, rather grandly one might say, as both an expert, and key player, on the local political scene.
No response to either email, sent to the local Group’s media relations officer, Cllr Dave Arnott, has yet been received. The press office at Conservative HQ has now been invited to comment.
Khazir Rehman, in his right of reply, asserts that the finding by Master McCloud, regarding the police having investigated the matters in issue, is incorrect. He says he has made a report of ‘perverting the course of justice’ to the Metropolitan Police following the handing down of the judgment. He has been asked to provide further details and a crime and/or log number.
No apology to either Cllr Ahmad, Dr Chauhan or the court was tendered. Indeed, he has rejected the fact that one should even be considered.
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Page last updated at 0925hrs on Saturday 5th February, 2022.
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