UK: Father and son cleared in ‘turkey sold as halal lamb’ meat scandal

By Suzi Gibson, Leicester Mercury

A father and son were celebrating clearing their names after being found not guilty in the turkey-sold-as-halal-lamb meat scandal.

Mohammed Anwarul Hoque (56) wept with relief after a jury acquitted him of knowingly helping to supply turkey that was labelled as lamb.

His accountancy graduate son, Mohammed Zunaid Hoque (25), who was a part-time deliveryman for the meat wholesalers involved said “Justice has been done” and those responsible have been rightly convicted.

He said he and his father had “no idea” a meat fraud existed until their arrest.

Mr Hoque junior added that as a Muslim he was particularly “disgusted” that anyone could pass off halal lamb as non-halal turkey.

A jury at Leicester Crown Court found the father and son, of Uplands Road, Oadby, not guilty of all charges, which they denied any involvement in from the outset.

Mohammed Anwarul Hoque (left) and son Mohammed Zunaid Hoque (Phot

However, the boss of the now defunct Peterborough-based meat suppliers, Dutch Bangla Direct Ltd, Mahmudur Rohman, was found guilty of all allegations levelled against him, as was his businessman friend, Kamal Rahman.

As Mr Hoque and his son celebrated their acquittal outside, sentencing against Rohman and Rahman was adjourned to April 11, pending the preparation of pre-sentence reports.

Judge Marcus Tregilgas-Davey said: “You’ve been found guilty by this jury of what I regard are serious matters, particularly the the description of meat being halal when it wasn’t.

“I’m granting you bail, but I need to make something very clear to you both (Rohman and Rahman) that I’m giving no indication of the likely sentence.

“All options remain open and you must appreciate at the forefront of my mind will be immediate custody.”

After the verdicts the judge told the jury: “You’ve shown a great deal of care and attention to the detail of this case.

“I fully understand why you came to the decisions you did and you performed your duty in a most professional way.”

The judge also praised the trading standards’ investigators, saying “There was clearly a large amount of work involved.”

During the trial, which began on February 8, prosecutor, Kevin Barry, said that owners of restaurants, takeaways and shops across Leicestershire and beyond unwittingly bought tonnes of low-cost turkey that was being passed off to them as more expensive lamb off the bone – netting profits in excess of a quarter of a million pounds.

The meat was deliberately wrongly labelled.

The defendants all denied conspiring to defraud customers by making false representations about the kind of meat being sold, between 2013 and 2014.

The fraud came to light during an investigation into the then recent national horse meat scandal – and food tests discovered turkey DNA in dishes that were supposed to be lamb.

Rohman (46), of Rothbart Way, Peterborough, and Kamal Rahman (54), of Derby Drive, Peterborough, were convicted unanimously of the conspiracy as well as selling food which was not the substance demanded by the customer and selling food labelled with a false description.

Rahman was found guilty of perverting the course of justice

Rohman was convicted of five counts of Food Safety Act breaches, possessing an article for use in fraud and selling food with a false description.