A man accused of passing false information to police and crimestoppers which sparked a police incident in Knaresborough last October is in York Crown Court for the third day of the trial.
Judge Stephen Ashurst said the police’s reaction to the hoax calls was ‘hardly surprising’ at York Crown Court today (November 21).
On October 16 2013 every single armed police officer in North Yorkshire was called to Knaresborough after anonymous 999 calls claimed a bomb was being made in Paragon Pizza on 16 High Street.
Judge Ashurst said: “It is hardly surprising that when the information was given the authorities sprung into action and a major incident was launched involving all armed officer in North Yorkshire and the town
of Knaresborough was shut down for hours.
It appears that innocent men were arrested. Somebody was communicating false information.”
The prosecution summed up and Barrister Paul Newcombe alleged that Shamsul Islam had a motive after the staff at the pizza take away unwittingly revealed his brother’s insurance scam when he was stopped by police the night before.
Mr Newcombe said the calls were not a prank and the caller knew they would be taken seriously.
“This is not a case that the police have over reacted. Can the police not react in this day and age?”
The prosecution said that Islam was ‘hot with fury’ after the insurance scam was exposed.
However the defence dismissed this as a motive as ‘a contrived grudge by the prosecution’.
Mark Foley said: “Paragan pizza staff said nothing but the truth, what did he expect to say? Why should any grudge be born from this?”
The jury were told by Mr Foley that phone mast evidence was ‘very dangerous’ as it could not pin point exact locations of the phone making the hoax call, just the mast the call used.
He said: “He may have been near the hoaxer at the time the hoax call was made. It doesn’t tell you that the person was anything but near the same mast.”
The jury have been told the evidence before them is circumstantial and Judge Ashurst warned them not to try and compare the voices they have heard in court with the hoax caller themselves.
Judge Ashurst is summing up the case.
Islam denies all charges against him. The case continues.