An Accrington market stallholder accused of sexually assaulting an underage girl has spoken of his relief after he was cleared by a jury.
Javid Raza, who has run Jass Fashion Jeans for nearly 30 years, said he can’t wait to get back to work after the judge ruled he had no case to answer. Jurors at Burnley Crown Court were instructed by Judge Beverley Lunt to find the 59-year-old not guilty of historic indecent assaults.
Five other men have also been found not guilty of various sexual offences against the same accuser.
Speaking to the Observer after the trial, Mr Raza said it has been living in a ‘nightmare’ for the last two years and thanked the support of his family, customers and market staff.
The father-of-three said: “I’m so happy this is over. For two years this has been over my head.
“What I’ve gone through and what my family has gone through for two years is unbelievable. All the other traders will be pleased as well. The market hall staff and management have been absolutely brilliant and really supportive all the way through and I really appreciate that. I have got really nice customers and they have always supported me. They have been absolutely brilliant. I can’t thank them enough for their support.
“I want to say a massive thank you to all my family and the people who supported me. I really can’t thank them enough.”
The former taxi driver, of Crosshill Road, Blackburn, said he was shocked when the allegations were first made and that the court proceedings have damaged his confidence.
He said: “I was so emotional when I first heard [the allegations]. I thought I was dreaming and in a nightmare. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I knew all along I was innocent but you don’t know what’s going to happen and you are worried.
“I’ve been working in the market for such a long time and never once had a complaint. All my life I try to play a fair part I society and then somebody comes up from nowhere.
“Your trust is just gone. All my confidence is gone over the last two years. I can’t even talk to young people now.”
Mr Raza said he is now looking forward to getting back to work after missing time while the trial was taking place.
He said: “I’ve missed the market a lot. I’m going to be going straight back to work. I’ve never missed a day working at the market in my life.”
Men found 'not guilty' in trial
A man has been cleared of indecently assaulting an underage girl.
Mohamed Rafique was found not guilty by a jury of the offence, following a trial at Burnley Crown Court.
However, the jury was unable to reach a verdict on another charge of rape against the same defendant and was discharged.
Mr Rafique, 39, of Moss Avenue, Rochdale, was released on bail.
He will return to Burnley Crown Court on June 2, when prosecutors will decide whether to pursue a re-trial.
The prosecution earlier withdrew its case against Amar Amin and Nadeem Arif and Judge Beverley Lunt instructed the jury to also return not guilty verdicts against Javid Raza, Abbas Khan and Ijaz Khan.
The men were all standing trial accused of committing sexual offences against the same Hyndburn victim that dated back to the 1990s.
Mr Raza, 59, of Crosshill Road, Blackburn, was found not guilty of six counts of indecent assault.
Mr Abbas Khan, 59, of Hubie Street, Burnley, was found not guilty of six counts of rape and 10 counts of indecent assault.
Mr Ijaz Khan, 47, of Casterton Avenue, Burnley, was found not guilty of one count of rape and eight counts of indecent assault.
Mr Amin, 36, of Manchester, and Mr Arif, 38, of St James Court, Blackburn, were both found not guilty of one count of rape.