LONDON (AP) – A former senior British police officer was sentenced to jail on corruption charges Monday for falsely arresting a business rival over a financial dispute.
A jury in London found Ali Dizaei, a former commander with London’s Metropolitan Police, guilty of misconduct in public office and perverting the course of justice. He was accused of making threats, assault, false arrest and faking evidence against Iraqi businessman Waad al-Baghdadi in a dispute over payment for work on Dizaei’s website.
It was 49-year-old Dizaei’s second trial on the charges, which stemmed from a July 2008 altercation outside a London restaurant that ended with al-Baghdadi, then 24, in handcuffs. Dizaei told colleagues al-Baghdadi had attacked him, and the younger man spent 24 hours in a jail cell before being released.
Al-Baghdadi then brought a formal complaint against Iran-born Dizaei, who was convicted in February 2010 and sentenced to four years in jail.
In May, the Court of Appeal ordered a retrial after evidence emerged to cast doubt on al-Baghdadi’s credibility as a witness.
But a jury at Southwark Crown Court unanimously found Dizaei guilty for a second time, and judge John Saunders sentenced him to three years in jail _ minus the 15 months he has already served and time spent on bail awaiting his second trial.
The judge acknowledged that “for police officers, sentences of imprisonment are especially difficult,” but told Dizaei that he had been a role model who betrayed those who looked up to him.
“The breach of trust that the public has placed in you is the more serious because of your senior appointment,” the judge said.
Dizaei’s lawyer, Imran Khan, said his client would appeal.
“He is extremely disappointed at the decision and we shall be appealing straightaway,” Khan said.
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