AM faces perjury claim in libel case.
Byline: Martin Shipton Chief Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
ADEFENDANT in a libel action being brought by Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar has told a court he believes the politician is guilty of perjury and attempting to pervert the course of justice.
In a statement submitted to the High Court in Cardiff, Mohammad Ali Hayat claims that Mr Asghar, a regional AM for South Wales East, "conspired to obtain a fraudulent statement of truth to implicate me in a possible forgery and to win this [libel] claim by any means".
Mr Asghar and another man are suing five members of the Newport Pakistani community, alleging they libelled them in a number of publications.
In his statement to the court, Mr Hayat went on to refer to evidence lodged as part of the libel case in which a witness, Mian Abdul Rashid, claimed he had been pressured by Mr Asghar to give a false statement in which he denied signing an earlier statement that alleged bad behaviour on the part of the AM in the context of a dispute over the ownership of two mosques in Newport.
Mr Rashid, who earlier this year resigned as vice-chairman of Newport East Conservative Association, now asserts that he signed the original statement which was critical of Mr Asghar.
Mr Hayat asked Judge Seys-Llewellyn QC to halt the libel action against him and four other defendants, but the application was refused.
The judge also refused an application by Mr Asghar to have the case, which is due to start in Newport on Tuesday, adjourned. Mr Asghar, who is bringing the libel action jointly with another mosque member called Abdul Rehman Mujahid, told the court that Mr Mujahid was seriously ill with kidney failure and was undergoing dialysis treatment.
The AM also told the court that since May he had not been legally represented, partly because of "funding problems". He said funds had now been put in place for the representation to be resumed.
Asking for the case to be adjourned, Mr Asghar said: "Mr Mujahid has been in an out of hospital and is in great pain as a result of renal failure. Postponing the trial would give him the chance to recuperate."
Mr Asghar also said he wanted an adjournment because of the gap in his representation period when he had not been represented and because he had been preoccupied with procedural applications being made by the defendants.
But Judge Seys-Llewellyn said he had no medical evidence before him saying that Mr Mujahid would be incapable of giving evidence.
He said judges were experienced in dealing with witnesses who were unwell, and could adjourn hearings for a short time if they needed to recuperate.
The judge said it was very late in the day to make an adjournment application for a trial due to take place next week. Mr Asghar should have notified the court earlier that he was not legally represented.
Costs were awarded against Mr Asghar.
Conservative AM Mohammad Asghar
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jul 19, 2014|
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