An emotional Labour MP wept in courtroom after at present being cleared of housing fraud.
Apsana Begum, 31, was on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Courtroom in London for 3 counts of dishonestly failing to reveal info referring to her council housing software throughout three intervals between January 2013 and March 2016
Tower Hamlets Council, which introduced the prosecution, alleged that the price to the native authority was £63,928, as a result of another person on the housing checklist needed to be given lodging elsewhere.
She efficiently gained a social housing tenancy in underneath 4 months, relatively than the common three-year wait, as a result of her claims, a courtroom heard.
As jurors discovered the Poplar and Limehouse MP not responsible of all prices on Friday, she collapsed and wept within the dock.
Apsana Begum (left and proper in courtroom), 31, the MP for Poplar and Limehouse in east London, claimed she was dwelling in ‘overcrowded situations’ along with her household when she was in a four-bedroomed home, jurors heard
Begum, who had been on trial at Snaresbrook Crown Courtroom, later blamed her companion, native councillor Ehtashamul Haque, for making an software to Tower Hamlets Council in her identify, it’s claimed.
The MP, who gained the east London seat of Poplar and Limehouse with a 28,904 majority within the basic election in December 2019, contested the ‘malicious and false allegations’ that she failed to inform the council that she was now not dwelling in overcrowded situations when she made her claims.
Through the trial, the courtroom heard Ms Begum had utilized to go on the council’s social housing register on July 22, 2011.
She was positioned on the precedence housing checklist after claiming to be dwelling in an ‘overcrowded’ three-bedroom home in Poplar with 5 members of her household and with out her personal room.
Nonetheless, the prosecution mentioned the property in Woodstock Terrace had 4 bedrooms, based on each a housing software made by Begum’s aunt in 2009 and a council tax type submitted by her mom in 2013.
Prosecutor James Marsland mentioned Ms Begum had intentionally lied concerning the variety of bedrooms with the intention to transfer greater up the housing register and likewise failed to inform the council that by January 2013 there have been solely 4 individuals dwelling on the handle after her father died and her aunt moved out.
Ms Begum maintained there had solely ever been three bedrooms in the home and that she had by no means had her personal bed room whereas dwelling there, and couldn’t clarify why her members of the family had mentioned there have been 4 bedrooms.
She additionally mentioned it was a interval of turmoil throughout which she was struggling to come back to phrases along with her father’s dying and her Bangladeshi-heritage household’s disapproval of her relationship along with her then-partner, Tower Hamlets councillor Ehtasham Haque.
Ms Begum’s defence lawyer, Helen Regulation additionally claimed that the grievance which triggered the investigation of Begum, made in 2019 by Sayed Nahid Uddin – Mr Haque’s brother-in-law – was ‘false’.
In a press release supplied after her acquittal, Ms Begum claimed the case in opposition to her had been pushed by ‘malicious intent’ and had prompted her ‘nice misery’.
She mentioned: ‘I wish to say a honest thanks to all my authorized workforce and all those that have proven me solidarity, help and kindness.
‘As a survivor of home abuse dealing with these vexatious prices, the final 18 months of false accusations, on-line sexist, racist, and Islamophobic abuse, and threats to my security, have been exceedingly tough.’
She added: ‘I will probably be consulting and contemplating the best way to observe up in order that one thing like this does not occur once more to anybody else.’
The MP, who gained the east London seat of Poplar and Limehouse with a 28,904 majority within the basic election in December 2019, contested the ‘malicious and false allegations’
The courtroom heard she left the property in Might 2013 as a result of her household’s rising hostility in direction of her want to marry Mr Haque, who was seven years her senior and twice divorced.
Giving proof in the course of the trial, an emotional Ms Begum mentioned she had visited a police station to make a report about her brother following her to work and mentioned she feared turning into the sufferer of honour-based violence.
She instructed the courtroom she returned residence on the identical day and was locked in the lounge by her brother, who mentioned he thought she ought to go to an imam as a result of he believed she was ‘possessed’.
Ms Begum mentioned she managed to name 999 and fled the home with solely her purse. Days later she was instructed to select up her belongings, which had been put in black bin luggage exterior the home.
Ms Begum and Mr Haque then had been married in an Islamic ceremony earlier than she moved in with him.
Mr Marsland had argued Ms Begum had been totally conscious of the housing register insurance policies and the very fact she was now not eligible for social housing as a result of her expertise working within the city mayor’s workplace after which as a housing adviser for Tower Hamlets Properties.
However Ms Regulation mentioned her shopper had solely labored at a low degree in each jobs, primarily as a name handler, and had no particular information of the housing register.
Begum was considered one of 26 new Labour MPs elected in 2019, successful her seat with a majority of almost 30,000.
A supporter of former Labour chief Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum, she has spoken in Parliament concerning the influence of coronavirus on ethnic minorities and sits on the Commons training committee.
She can also be notable for being the chair of an all-party committee on home abuse and violence and has spoken within the Home of Commons about being a survivor.