On 23rd July, 2021, a group of Greater Manchester Police officers, led by Detective Sergeant Chris Dean, executed a dawn raid at a property in Stamford Road, Mossley, Tameside. News broken exclusively on Neil Wilby Media at the time and followed up by local and regional newspapers, subsequently.
Raja Miah, a 48yo unemployed conspiracy theorist was arrested and a search of his home carried out. All his electronic devices, and a notebook, were seized. He was, subsequently, bailed on conditions that included a night-time curfew.
He maintains that his arrest was ‘politically motivated’ (read more here) and objected to media reports that his arrest was part of Operation Hexagon, an investigation into historic allegations of child sexual exploitation in Oldham. A complaint he made in this regard, against The Oldham Times, was dismissed by the statutory regulator (read more here).
Charges were later laid against him at Tameside Magistrates’ Court and he made his first appearance there in February, 2022. He pleaded not guilty to charges of malicious communication and harassment. The former charge was dropped at a hearing in April, 2022 at which a date for the trial over the harassment of a 39yo female lawyer, from the Salford area of Greater Manchester, was listed for 17th August, 2022 at Manchester and Salford Magistrates’ Court. The change of venue was at the request of the defendant’s solicitors.
Shortly before that hearing it became apparent, via Miah’s own social media posts, that he would be unrepresented at the trial and, as such, he was seeking an adjournment to remedy that shortcoming. It emerged that Tuckers Solicitors, a leading firm in the North West, who had been representing him for many months, had written to the court, on or around 6th August, 2022, to say that they had withdrawn from his case. Miah said, enigmatically, it was because of ‘a conflict of interest’.
The Crown Prosecution Service lawyer, Nick Smart, raised no objections to the application to adjourn the trial and a case management hearing was listed for 15th September, 2022. Miah was re-bailed on more restricted coditions and directed to provide details of his latest representation, to both the court and the CPS, by 7th September, 2022.
On that date (yesterday), Miah posted this message on his discredited, frequently banned Recusant Nine Facebook page:
‘Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, every firm [of legal representatives] that I have approached has turned me away. I’d rather not speculate why’.
‘Not a single decent legal aid firm will touch me, I’m afraid. I’ve spent the last two months going from one to the other. Every one of them has been scared off by the politics surrounding the case and the impact it will have on their lives/business. I’m now out of time’.
Given that Tuckers notified the court on 6th August of the cessation of their representation, that assertion by Miah tends to suggest that the falling-out between them happened at least a month earlier. Moreover, the proposition that a criminal defence firm would be ‘scared off by the politics of the case’ when defending a client charged with harassment is, quite frankly, risible. As is the concept that losing a case would impact on the lives or business of a solicitor or his law firm.
He went on to say that he had been forced to borrow a sum in the order of £12,000 from family and friends to secure the services of an un-named direct access barrister. A figure that might seem extraordinarily high, at least to those adjacent to the criminal justice system, for magistrates’ court representation at a short case management hearing and a trial, in or around the end of January next year, with a time estimate of half a day. A legal aid-funded advocate would do well to clear £600 for both.
Given that Tuckers will have already done much of the ‘legwork’ in this case, one might reasonably have expected to pay a criminal defence barrister around £3,000 for such representation, depending on their years of call (experience).
He concluded: ‘This is the first time in this journey where I am genuinely crestfallen through the situation I find myself in. I’m not naive, I understand why politicians, the police and those that benefit from how our town currently runs desperately need to criminalise me’.
Miah’s present mood may well be as a result of the lawyers who have turned him down, and the one he has secured, disabusing him of the notion that a criminal trial can be turned into his own brand of political circus. A point made, with some emphasis, by the CPS solicitor during oral submissions to the court at the last hearing – and certain to be repeated at the forthcoming case management hearing.
There are three recognised defences to a charge of harassment:
– that the course of conduct was for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime
– that it was conducted under a rule of law
– that it was reasonable in the circumstances
They do not include the apparent defence, advanced by this defendant from behind the dock’s glass screens at the last hearing: ‘My arrest was politically motivated and the principal witness is a Labour party activist’.
Notwithstanding the merits, or otherwise, of the first part of Raja Miah’s submissions, and they appear to be made completely absent of proof, the latter claim is palpably false.
A report from the case management hearing will be posted here on 15th September.
Page last updated Thursday 8th September, 2022 at 2120hrs
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