A Conservative MP has appeared via video link at Westminster Magistrates Court, accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old boy.
Imran Ahmad Khan MP for Wakefield, has denied the allegations “in the strongest terms,” but has been suspended from his party while the case is investigated.
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The alleged incident is said to have taken place in 2008, he was elected to Westminster in the 2019 general election.
‘This matter is deeply distressing to me’
The 47 year old is accused of groping the youngster in Staffordshire, the claim, as 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.”
The victim has not been named, as he is considered an alleged victim of sexual assault.
The Crown Prosecution Service said it made the decision to charge after reviewing a file of evidence from Staffordshire Police.
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.”
The case has now been considered by Chief magistrate Paul Goldspring as unsuitable for trial in the magistrates’ court and it has been 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.”