A 32 year old man, Taha Mohammad Aziz perverted the course of justice by adopting his friend's identity while caught red-handed, stealing at Debenhams at Highcross Shopping Centre, Leicester. This led to an innocent man made to having proceedings taking place against him in court.
The officer at the scene of theft had gone to the friend's address given to him by Aziz, stating it to be his own. The officer confirmed that the friend was not the shoplifter. Police later identified Aziz from his custody picture.
In a letter addressed to the court, Aziz mentioned that he lost his parents at the age of 16 in Iraq. He goes on to say that he had committed shoplifting as he was unsure of what his status of immigration for the UK was, which was under review. He stressed that he is ashamed as it is because of him, an innocent man was made to come before court for no fault at all.
Aziz was told by Judge Nicholas Dean, QC, that compassion towards him is considerate but it is not relevant for the serious offence he committed, also adding that “Perverting the course of justice and exposing someone to such a risk overshadows the offence of stealing the perfume – and you’re a prolific shoplifter... It may be your immigration status has contributed to your continuing to shoplift, but it’s no excuse.”