A lag who walked out of an open prison to see his mum claims it was impossible to get re-arrested, despite showing up at a police station seven times to try and hand himself in.
Akram Uddin appeared at the Old Bailey in October 2017 charged with firearms offences. He was sentenced to 8 years in prison, and later had a further two years added to his sentence for violent disorder and drugs offences.
He was moved to Standford Hill open prison in March this year. In June 17 he escaped, because he wanted to see how his mother was coping with the coronavirus pandemic.
Then a couple of days later Uddin, 27, called his solicitor, Kamal Channa and was advised to give himself up.
Speaking via video link at a court hearing yesterday, Uddin claimed to have made seven separate attempts to surrender himself.
Between July 13 and August 13, Uddin says, he tried to hand himself in at Lewisham police station in south-east London several times but busy officers said they could find no warrant for his arrest.
Liam Walker, representing Uddin at Maidstone Crown Court, said: “This case, more than any other I have heard or have been involved with in my last two decades of practice, perhaps illustrates the extent of the managed decay of the criminal justice system.”
The Guardian reports Mr Walker telling the court: “It is utterly astonishing that, when Mr Uddin asked to be taken back into custody, he was refused."
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“There is little more that an escaped prisoner can do," Mr Walker added, "than instruct his solicitor that he is going to a particular police station, attend that police station with a bag, say he has escaped from prison, give his full details and ask to be arrested and taken back.”
“To badly paraphrase Oscar Wilde: to pass up the opportunity to arrest an escaped prisoner once may be regarded as misfortune, to pass up that opportunity seven times is an utter shambles.”
The Metropolitan Police has disputed Uddin’s story, saying that there is no record of Uddin visiting Lewisham Police station.
A statement from the Met reads: “We are aware of claims made in mitigation during the sentencing of Akram Uddin at Maidstone crown court on Friday 18 September.
“After being made aware of the comments made in court, we are conducting a review to establish the facts of these claims.
“If an individual attended a police station in the Metropolitan police area to confirm they were wanted for a criminal offence, their name would be put through the police national computer to confirm this."
“Even if that person is not wanted," it continued, "there would be a record of that name having been entered and by whom. From an initial review of our systems, there is no record of an Akram Uddin having attended Lewisham police station on dates between 13 July and 13 August.”
Judge Charles Gratwicke ordered that the Met conduct an inquiry to establish the facts of the case and present its findings to the court within 28 days.
Uddin has been jailed for four months for absconding from prison.
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