Two men cleared of conspiracy to rob Amir Khan of £70,000 diamond watch at gunpoint
Two men have been cleared of acting as “spotters” in the robbery of a £70,000 diamond-encrusted watch from former world boxing champion Amir Khan.
The 2004 Olympic silver medallist, 36, was forced to hand over his bespoke Franck Muller watch at gunpoint as he and his wife, Faryal Makhdoom, 31, left the Sahara Grill restaurant in Leyton, east London, last April.
Ismail Mohamed and Nurul Amin, aged 24 and 25, had also been dining in the restaurant and using their phones, which saw them accused of doing so to keep track of Mr Khan’s movements and relay them to 25-year-old Ahmed Bana, who has admitted driving the robbers to and from the scene.
There were no calls between Mr Amin and Bana, gunman Dante Campbell or a third man who was alleged to have been part of the plot, or any forensic evidence linking Mr Amin – of Harringay – to the watch or gun.
The pair denied conspiracy to rob and were acquitted by a jury at east London’s Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, where a jury deliberated for around two hours before clearing them both by unanimous verdicts.
Mr Amin’s lawyer, Zacharias Miah, said in a closing speech: “We say categorically on his behalf that the prosecution’s case does not exist against Mr Amin. It is so weak that it does not exist at all.”
Rabah Kherbane, the lawyer acting for Mr Mohamed, said: “Most of us sitting in a restaurant use our phones. Most of us flick through the internet. It’s just so ridiculous to have to answer to using your phone when you’re in a restaurant.”
Mr Mohamed gave “frank honest evidence” and “you can see he’s not a spotter” on CCTV played in court, said Mr Kherbane, adding that the two men “were legitimately out for dinner and you can see that on CCTV”.
Mr Mohamed, of Edmonton, said Bana arranged with him to come to meet the group to buy cannabis, and told jurors he had not heard of the boxer before accompanying his friends to the restaurant to break their Ramadan fast.
He said that it was his friend, who was not on trial, who had pointed out that Mr Khan was at the restaurant when some sports fans spotted him and posed for photographs.
Mr Mohamed said he then told Bana about the boxer’s presence during a phone call. But asked about why Campbell – who has pleaded guilty – later turned up at the scene with a gun, he told the court: “I do not know why he came. I do not know him. I do not know the reason he came over. I do not have his number.”
Khan, who was a unified world champion at light-welterweight, said he looked into the handgun’s barrel when the robber pointed it in his face and told him: “Take off the watch.”
“I'm a sportsman, I'm a fighter. I have always been put in the toughest situations when I go into the ring and fight someone, but this was totally different – very, very scary,” Khan previously told the court.
Campbell, of Hornsey, and Bana, of Tottenham, have admitted conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of an imitation firearm, and will be sentenced on a date yet to be fixed.
In a statement read outside court on behalf of Mr Amin, Mr Mashud said: “I would like to thank my legal team for supporting me throughout this case and helping me for my name to be cleared. I would like to thank Zacharias Miah, my barrister, and my solicitors Harry Rana and Shah Mashud.”
Additional reporting by PA