A Tory MP is facing trial accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008, it can now be revealed.
Imran Ahmad Khan, 47, the Conservative MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said he denies ‘in the strongest terms’ an allegation he groped the teenager in Staffordshire.
Ahmad Khan, who was elected at the 2019 general election, appeared at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on Thursday by video-link from his lawyers’ office.
He can today be named after reporting restrictions were lifted.
Ahmad Khan, from Wakefield, faces a single count of sexual assault against the teenager, who cannot be identified because he is an alleged victim of a sexual offence, in 2008.
Imran Ahmad Khan (pictured), 47, the Conservative MP for Wakefield, West Yorkshire, said he denies ‘in the strongest terms’ an allegation he groped the teenager in Staffordshire
The charge, which was read out in court, states: ‘In the county of Staffordshire you intentionally touched a boy aged 15 and that touching was sexual when he did not consent and you did not reasonably believe that he was consenting, contrary to Section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.’
Asked to indicate a plea to the charge, Ahmad Khan, who was represented by Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, said: ‘Not guilty.’
In a statement released on Friday, Ahmad Khan said: ‘It is true that an accusation has been made against me.
‘May I make it clear from the outset that the allegation, which is from over 13 years ago, is denied in the strongest terms.
‘This matter is deeply distressing to me and I, of course, take it extremely seriously.
‘To be accused of doing something I did not do is shocking, destabilising and traumatic. I am innocent.
‘Those, like me, who are falsely accused of such actions are in the difficult position of having to endure damaging and painful speculation until the case is concluded.
‘I ask for privacy as I work to clear my name.’
Asked to indicate a plea to the charge, Ahmad Khan, who was represented by Sallie Bennett-Jenkins QC, said: ‘Not guilty.’ Pictured, Khan with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring said the case was not suitable for trial in the magistrates’ court and sent the case to the Old Bailey.
He told Ahmad Khan: ‘You must appear at the Central Criminal Court, the Old Bailey, on July 15 at 9.30am. Between now and then you are granted unconditional bail.
‘If you do not attend on that occasion, unless there is a very good reason, you potentially commit an offence.
‘Do you understand that?’
Ahmad Khan replied: ‘I do.’
According to his website, the MP was born in Wakefield, where he attended the independent Silcoates School before going to university at the Pushkin Institute in Russia and graduating from King’s College in London with a bachelor’s degree in war studies.
Before entering Parliament, he worked for the United Nations as a special assistant for political affairs in Mogadishu.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it made the decision to charge after reviewing a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police.
Stressing the need for a fair trial, Rosemary Ainslie of the CPS said: ‘It is extremely important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings.’
She added: ‘The Crown Prosecution Service authorised police to charge Imran Ahmad Khan, MP for Wakefield, with one offence of sexual assault. The charge relates to an allegation of sexual assault in 2008.
‘The CPS made the decision that Mr Khan should be charged after reviewing a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police.
‘The CPS reminds all concerned that criminal proceedings against Mr Khan are active and that he has a right to a fair trial.’