Cleared – by mobile phone

A MAN who turned amateur detective after a jury found him guilty of beating his wife has had his conviction overturned by top judges. While awaiting sentence, Ismail Ali, 31, used his mobile phone to make secret recordings to back up his claims that his w

A MAN who turned amateur detective after a jury found him guilty of beating his wife has had his conviction overturned by top judges.

While awaiting sentence, Ismail Ali, 31, used his mobile phone to make secret recordings to back up his claims that his wife's injuries were self-inflicted.

And his freelance detection work received its reward when it was enough to persuade three judges on Monday to quash his conviction as "unsafe".

Mr Ali was jailed for 12 months at Luton Crown Court in June last year after he was found guilty of assaulting his wife, Ripa Begum, causing her actual bodily harm.


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His wife claimed Mr Ali attacked her at their home following a bitter row, ramming her head towards the kitchen sink until she was knocked out cold.

But Mr Ali, of York Road, Hitchin, denied assault, insisting that any injuries were self-inflicted and that his wife's claims were fabricated.

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His case reached London's Appeal Court as Mr Ali cited evidence of 11 recordings he said he made clandestinely of conversations with his wife in May last year.

Mr Ali said he used his mobile phone to secretly record the calls in which, he claimed, his wife had confessed to concocting the assault allegation.

Specialist voice recognition analyst Professor Peter French was "jointly instructed" by both defence and prosecution to examine Mr Ali's recordings, comparing them with a recent "controlled" sample of Mrs Begum's voice.

And he found that the voice characteristics in Mr Ali's recordings were "consistent with those of Mrs Begum in all available significant, phonetic, acoustic and linguistic respects".

Rasib Ghaffar, Mr Ali's barrister, argued the recordings "wholly undermined the credibility" of Mrs Begum's evidence, describing her as the key prosecution witness in a case in which there was no other eye witness testimony.

Mr Ali had told police he and his wife rowed after he said the word "divorce" to her three times - the nominal Islamic requirement for ending a marriage.

Lord Justice Moore-Bick said: "In our view Mr Ali's evidence that the recordings are a true recording of the conversation between himself and his wife is capable of belief.

"If it were believed, it would significantly undermine the evidence given by her against him.

"That renders his conviction unsafe."

Mr Ali said outside court that he and his wife are still married. The court did not order a retrial.

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