A Leamington restaurant boss who sexually assaulted a drunken young woman after taking her to a nearby park cannot be jailed for what he did.
Mohammed Mannan, whose restaurant has since closed, had pleaded not guilty at Warwick Crown Court to sexually assaulting his victim by penetration almost five years ago.
At a trial the following year, the jury was unable to reach a verdict, and the case was adjourned for Mannan (39) of Bernard Street, West Bromwich, to stand trial for a second time.
But when that took place, concerns were raised about his mental health, and after a number of adjournments psychiatrists who examined him agreed he was mentally unfit to stand trial.
As a result, a jury in a further trial in December last year was asked to consider whether he ‘did the act alleged’ rather than whether he was guilty.
Prosecutor Steven Bailey said that in November 2014 a young woman had a couple of drinks with friends at home before going to the Neon night club in Leamington, hoping to meet up with her boyfriend there.
Unable to find him, she had another drink in the night club before going outside for a breath of air and sitting down outside a tanning salon opposite the club.
At that time Mannan was locking up his nearby restaurant, Kismet in Spencer Street, which has since closed down, and went over to speak to her.
She told him she was alright and to leave her alone, and he walked away, but then returned in his car.
He put the young woman, who Mr Bailey described as being ‘drunk and incapable,’ into his car and drove her to a park on the other side of the river.
In the park, he sexually assaulted her, said Mr Bailey.
“CCTV showed him driving away from the scene where he had abandoned her, passed out on a park bench.”
Other cameras then picked up his victim staggering up Bedford Street and then down the Parade back to Spencer Street where she was seen to be hysterical, and the police were called.
When Mannan was traced and arrested he accepted he had been attracted to her, and said he had approached her and asked her if she wanted to go to a different club.
He claimed she had willingly got into his car, and then asked him to stop before getting into the back and asking him to join her, where he said they kissed and touched consensually.
But the jury found that he had sexually assaulted her.
Following that hearing, there were further adjournments for reports to be prepared on Mannan.
And earlier this year two psychiatrists concluded that Mannan’s mental health had improved and that he was by then fit to stand trial in the normal way – so the case was adjourned again for that to be considered by the prosecution.
But at the resumed hearing, Mr Bailey told Judge Peter Cooke: “The victim was consulted on whether she was prepared to give evidence again. It would be the fourth time she had done so, and she says she would not be willing to do that.”
So because there had not been a conviction, ‘there seems to be no option other than to proceed with a disposal under the Insanity Act,’ despite Mannan no longer being under a mental health disability, he observed.
That meant that Mannan, who had a previous conviction for two offences of indecent assault 20 years ago, could not be made subject to a hospital order under the Mental Health Act.
In law, that left Judge Cooke with only two alternatives – a supervision order or an absolute discharge.
And Balvinder Bhatti, defending, observed: “Your Honour has to be satisfied, if a supervision order is made, what provisions for supervision are available, and whoever is in charge of that needs to be identified.”
So Judge Cooke adjourned the case again for those enquiries to be made, and Mannan was given bail with a condition of living at an address in Birmingham and not entering Leamington except to attend court.