A Labour MP has been discovered not responsible of housing fraud.
Apsana Begum, MP for Poplar and Limehouse, was cleared of three costs of dishonestly failing to reveal data referring to her Tower Hamlets council housing utility by a jury at Snaresbrook Crown Courtroom.
The 31-year-old collapsed and wept within the dock because the verdicts had been introduced.
Issuing an announcement afterwards, Ms Begum stated the trial had precipitated her “nice misery”.
Tower Hamlets Council introduced the prosecution, alleging that the price to the council was £63,928, as a result of another person on the housing record needed to be given lodging elsewhere.
Ms Begum, who sits on the Home of Commons’ schooling committee, was elected to parliament with a 28,904 majority on the 2019 normal election.
The court docket heard through the trial that the Labour MP has utilized to go on Tower Hamlets Council’s social housing register on 22 July 2011 and was positioned on the precedence housing record after claiming to be dwelling in an “overcrowded” three-bedroom property in Poplar with 5 members of her household.
The prosecution argued, primarily based on each a housing utility made by Ms Begum’s aunt in 2009 and a council tax kind submitted by her mom in 2013, that the property really had 4 bedrooms.
Prosecutor James Marsland stated Ms Begum has intentionally lied concerning the variety of bedrooms in the home with a purpose to transfer herself larger up the council register.
He added that the Labour MP had did not disclose that there have been solely 4 folks dwelling on the tackle by January 2014 after her father died and her aunt moved out of the property.
However Ms Begum repeatedly claimed there had solely ever been three bedrooms in the home and that she had by no means had her personal bed room.
She added that the occasions occurred throughout a interval of hardship in her life following her father’s passing and her Bangladeshi-heritage household’s disapproval of her relationship together with her then-partner, Tower Hamlets councillor Ehtasham Haque.
The Labour MP’s defence lawyer, Helen Legislation, claimed a criticism made in 2019 by Mr Haque’s brother-in-law Sayed Nahid Uddin – which triggered the investigation into Ms Begum’s conduct – was “false”.
Through the trial, the court docket heard that Ms Begum left the home in Might 2013 as a consequence of her household’s hostility in the direction of her want to marry Mr Haque who was seven years her senior and twice divorced.
Ms Begum stated she feared changing into the sufferer of honour-based violence and had reported her brother to the police after he adopted her to work.
The Labour MP advised the court docket her brother locked her in the lounge in the identical day when she returned residence and that he had advised her to go to an imam believing she was “possessed”.
Ms Begum stated she rang 999 and fled the property with simply her purse. She collected her belongings which had been in bin baggage outdoors a couple of days later.
The MP for Poplar and Limehouse stated she managed to name 999 and fled the home with solely her purse. Days later she was advised to select up her belongings, which had been put in black bin baggage outdoors the home.
In an announcement following the verdicts, Ms Begum thanked those that stood by her through the trial.
“This case has been pushed by malicious intent and has precipitated me nice misery and injury to my repute,” she stated.
“I want to say a honest thanks to all my authorized workforce and all those that have proven me solidarity, assist and kindness.
“As a survivor of home abuse going through these vexatious costs, the final 18 months of false accusations, on-line sexist, racist, and Islamophobic abuse, and threats to my security, have been exceedingly tough.
“I additionally thank the jury for vindicating me, and the decide for presiding over this trial. I will likely be consulting and contemplating how one can observe up in order that one thing like this does not occur once more to anybody else
“I might now prefer to get on with my job of representing my constituents – opposing the negligent COVID choices made by (Prime Minister Boris) Johnson’s reckless Tory authorities which has precipitated so many households to lose family members who ought to nonetheless be with us right now and a lot hardship that would have been prevented.
“My comrades and associates, in Poplar and Limehouse, and past, have stood by me, I’ve and can all the time stand by them.”.
A Tower Hamlets spokesperson stated the council accepted the jury’s verdict.
“We now have an obligation to research any allegations of housing fraud with a purpose to guarantee public cash is spent accurately and that these ready on our housing register are handled pretty,” an announcement launched by the council stated.
“After reviewing the proof with the advantage of unbiased authorized recommendation, it was discovered it to be sturdy sufficient to convey the matter to court docket the place it was agreed there was a case to reply.
“We totally settle for the decision, that justice has run its course and that the matter is now closed.”
Former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn welcomed the verdicts.
He posted on social media: “Congratulations. At all times knew you to be a lady of fantastic energy and fortitude and but once more that has been confirmed.”