Appeal judges cut jail term handed to former politician Lord Nazir Ahmed

Court of Appeal judges have cut a jail term imposed on a peer found guilty of trying to rape a young girl and sexually assaulting a boy aged under 11 in the 1970s.

Former politician Lord Nazir Ahmed had been convicted, in January 2022, of sexually abusing two children when he was a teenager in Rotherham, South Yorkshire.

A judge had handed Ahmed, now 65, a jail term of five years and six months after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Three appeal judges have cut that term to two years and six months after concluding that trial judge Mr Justice Lavender “fell into error” when passing sentence.

Lord Burnett, the Lord Chief Justice; Lord Justice Holroyde, and Lord Justice William Davis announced their decision on Friday after considering arguments at a recent Court of Appeal hearing in London in January.

Ahmed had been found guilty of two counts of attempted rape and one of buggery.

A woman had told jurors that Ahmed attempted to rape her in the early 1970s, when he was about 16 or 17 but she was much younger.

Ahmed was also found guilty of a serious sexual assault against a boy under 11, also in the early 1970s.

Mr Justice Lavender had handed Ahmed a three-year, six-month term for the offence of buggery, and imposed sentences of two years for each of the attempted rapes.

He said the two attempted rape sentences would run concurrent to each other but be added to the buggery term – making a total of
five years and six months.

Ahmed had challenged Mr Justice Lavender’s sentencing decision and appeal judges made a ruling in his favour.

Appeal judges cut the three-year, six-month term to six months, but said both two-year terms would remain – making a total of two years and six months.

They said the fact that Ahmed was a child when he committed offences had to be taken into account.

Appeal judges said if Ahmed had been sentenced shortly after committing the buggery offence, he would have been 14 – and a child with no previous convictions.

They concluded that “a custodial sentence of six months would probably have been regarded as a suitable penalty”.

But they took a different view in relation to the attempted rape sentences.

Appeal judges said the attempted rapes were offences by a teenager “against a very young victim”.

They made no criticism of Mr Justice Lavender’s reasoning in relation to the sentences imposed for the attempted rapes.

Appeal judges had considered legal issues relating to the “correct approach” to sentencing an adult for an offence committed when they were a child.

They examined a number of cases, including Ahmed’s. Each case concerned sexual offending.

Appeal judges said none of the victims could be identified in media reports.