Bid to prevent Rotherham abuse trial taking place in Sheffield

Arshid Hussain arrives at Sheffield Crown Court for a previous appearance in the Operation Clover case
Arshid Hussain arrives at Sheffield Crown Court for a previous appearance in the Operation Clover case

Eight people charged with Rotherham child sexual exploitation offences could have their trial moved out of South Yorkshire.

The trial of six men and two women is scheduled to start in Sheffield Crown Court in December.

But lawyers for one of the men, Arshid Hussain, intend to apply to have the case held out of the local area due to ongoing ‘publicity’ surrounding the case.

Details emerged at the latest court hearing in the case in Sheffield this morning, which was not attended by Arshid Hussain due to illness.

Hussain, 40, has been charged with more than 40 offences as part of Operation Clover, an investigation into alleged historic abuse offences in the town.

He was due to appear with seven other defendants at Sheffield Crown Court this morning for a plea and case management hearing ahead of a trial due to start in December.

The defendants who did attend court included 52-year-old Qurban Ali, Sajid Bostan, 38, Majid Bostan, 37, Shelley Davies, 40, and Karen MacGregor, 58.

Also appearing via video link from custody were Bannaras Hussain, 36, and Basharat Hussain, 38.

Stephen Uttley, representing Arshid Hussain, said his wheelchair-bound client had suffered problems with nerves in his neck prior to leaving his address in the Goole area for court and instead needed to be taken to hospital in Hull, making him unable to attend the hearing.

Mr Uttley requested the hearing was adjourned, due to his client being unavailable and to allow more time to prepare the defence case.

He said at the next hearing Hussain’s legal team will apply for the trial to be moved from its current intended venue in Sheffield as the case has already ‘attracted considerable local and national publicity’.

Michelle Colborne QC, prosecuting, said the CPS will object to the application to move the trial from Sheffield. She said the defendants face a combined 84 counts against them, with the case due to involve 14 complainants.

The defendants have previously been charged with offences dating back to the 1980s, with the majority of the counts against them relating to allegations from the 1990s and early 2000s.

Judge Sarah Wright agreed to adjourn the hearing until October 13.

She asked for a medical certificate to be provided in relation to Arshid Hussain’s absence from court.