A Bradford takeaway worker accused of plotting to use the famous Duracell brand name in an elaborate scam to earn £300,000 has walked free from court leaving two of his brothers and a solicitor on trial.
Zakar Hussain, 28, of Asburnham Grove, Manningham, was accused of being part of an advance-fee fraud selling international rights for a Duracell energy drink which only existed in the form of dummy cans.
He was cleared of conspiracy to commit fraud with three others after 17 days of a trial at Hull Crown Court.
The jury were told Zakar Hussain’s name was found on a contract for a stand at the World Trade Centre in Dubai where his brothers are accused of unveiling the drink for sale. Zakar Hussain never went to the fair in February, 2009, and his handwriting was never analysed.
Zakar’s name was linked to several documents including an application to the Department of Trade and Industry for £29,000 to pay for the event in Dubai, but he told the police he knew nothing.
He was also listed as the secretary of Duracell Company Ltd set up in January 2008 with its registered office in Harrogate Road, Leeds, the address of the family takeaway where he worked. However he has always maintained he never took part in the conspiracy.
Judge Mark Bury told the jury yesterday he had taken the decision it would not be safe to leave the decision to convict Zakar Hussain of conspiracy to commit fraud on the evidence they had heard over 16 days.
He instructed the jury to record a not guilty verdict. Four others remain on trial.
Speaking on the steps of Hull Crown Court, Zakar Hussain, 28, said: “It is a relief to be found not guilty. The police should never have brought the charges in the first place. I have maintained my innocence from day one.
“It has taken me three and a half years to clear my name. It has been three and a half years of torture. The police have turned up at my place of work and blamed me for something I have not done. They have harassed me and invaded my privacy. They have been following me round and making my life hell for no good reason. I even had to surrender my passport.”
He said the pressure of the case forced him to lose the family takeaway in Leeds.
He told the police in interview that although he had once distributed soft drinks, he worked at the family takeaway and in the accident claims business Scott Mitchells Ltd. He said he took no wage and took only what he need from family funds.
He refused to give a sample of handwriting or participate in identity procedures.
Zakar Hussain left his brothers Yassar Hussain, 31, also of Ashburnham Grove, and Zameer Hussain, 28, of Moorland Close, Dewsbury, on trial accused of conspiracy to defraud along with Pervez Iqbal, 38, of Dorothy Road, Tisley, Birmingham. All three deny the charge.
Yassar Hussain, 31, Zameer Hussain, 28, and Bradford solicitor Majed Iqbal, 32, of Elizabeth Street, Nelson, have all pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by bribing witnesses not to attend court.
Yassar Hussain has been absent from the dock since the first day of the trial which has carried on without him.