Tower Hamlets Mayor told to say sorry to sex crime victim after his testimonial to her attacker
PUBLISHED: 15:00 14 April 2011 | UPDATED: 18:52 14 April 2011
The Mayor of Tower Hamlets has been asked to say sorry to a young woman who was attacked by a sex pervert who picked her up in his illegal minicab.
Lutfur Rahman had given a ‘good character’ reference to the man which was used to try and convince a judge not to jail him.
Mr Rahman claimed the testimonial “was a genuine mistake” when he faced angry councillors at last night’s council meeting.
Zamal Uddin, 44, who sexually assaulted the 26-year-old woman in October, was jailed for 18 months and put on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years after admitting two charges of sexual assault and driving while disqualified.
Councillors challenged the Mayor over whether he knew Uddin faced serious criminal charges when he gave the testimonial.
“For you to say you ‘made a mistake’ is outrageous,” said Tory Opposition leader Peter Golds.
“You’re a solicitor and member of the Law Society—yet you gave a reference on Tower Hamlets notepaper for this corrupt, perverted criminal.
“You know better than anyone how the Law stands—you should apologise to the people of Tower Hamlets for your testimonial to a pervert who’s been recommended for deportation.”
Cllr Golds now plans to write to the Law Society over Lutfur’s testimonial.
Labour’s Rachael Saunders said: “I hope the mayor apologises to the woman to save the reputation of the council.”
Her colleague Bill Turner said: “Lutfur has acknowledged his mistake—but needs to explain what happened.”
The row led to a call for a register of testimonials which would be open to public scrutiny. All copies used for judicial and government agencies on council stationary would now be logged and kept on record, it was agreed.
Mayor Rahman later told the East London Advertiser: “This man’s family tricked me. They wanted a character reference but didn’t say it was for a court case.
“I knew nothing about any criminal case—they switched the reference and used it in a court case.”
But he had earlier written on a blogsite on the internet: “I was told he was in court due to a revocation of his driving license as he was not currently insured. They made the case to me that this was an oversight and a reference would help convince the judge he be allowed to retain his license as it was a ‘one off’ mistake.”