Thursday 29 September 2016

Former boxing champion turned Muslim convert who was cleared of terror offences found guilty of not paying parking fines

Published 01/12/2015 | 15:48

Former champion boxer Anthony Small
Former champion boxer Anthony Small

Former boxing champion-turned Muslim convert Anthony Small who was cleared of terror offences has been found guilty of evading parking fines on his scooter.

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Earlier this year, the 34-year-old former British and Commonwealth light middleweight winner was found not guilty at the Old Bailey of putting his boxing gloves and championship belt on eBay in a bid to travel to Syria.

Small was also acquitted of supporting a proscribed organisation and disseminating terror publications in online posts after spending eight months in Belmarsh jail on remand with his co-accused who had been found in the back of a lorry at Dover.

But within months of being freed, Small returned to the same court to fight a long-running fraud case which had been interrupted by his other legal troubles.

Small had faced three separate trials over allegations of giving false names to the DVLA to avoid paying thousands of pounds of parking tickets on his BMW C1 motorbike and producing a fake insurance certificate to retrieve an impounded car.

The first jury failed to reach a verdict, the second trial was abandoned after Small's extreme video postings were reported while the third and final trial was delayed to allow for the terror case.

The jury took less than a day of deliberations to find Small, of Samuel Lewis Trust Estate, Warner Road, south east London, guilty of three counts of fraud following the week-long trial.

The trial had heard how Small's BMW C1 scooter was parked illegally, accruing thousands of pounds in fines in 2010 and 2011.

To avoid paying, Small first adopted the ficticious identity of Tony Beckford of Lambeth as the registered keeper and later Gavin Andison at another London address.

Prosecutor Meyrick Williams told jurors that while there may be a Tony Beckford, a Gavin Andison or Gavin Anderson "and even a Hans Christian Andersen", none were to be found at any of the addresses given.

In his defence, Small claimed that he was the victim of "systemic police harassment".

He told jurors he enjoyed a successful sporting career with 86 amateur fights and a further 24 professional bouts before hanging up his gloves because the culture of gambling and alcohol was at odds with his religion.

He went on to become a personal trainer, buying and selling cars and motorbikes on Gumtree and other websites on the side for extra cash, he said.

He claimed that he initially bought the 200cc motorbike with Mr Beckford as part of a partnership in used car sales but their relationship soured because his friend owed him money and failed to tax the bike.

He then tried to recoup the debt by selling the bike on to Mr Andison before buying it back at a knock down price and parking it on what he thought was private land only to his "horror" finding it had been impounded - twice.

On the allegation of false insurance for a Mazda car, the former fighter said he had been sold the car by a friend called Ricardo who he later discovered had continued to drive it, even though Small was the registered keeper.

The car was impounded in Charlton and could not be collected by Ricardo, who provided the insurance document so Small could get it back, jurors heard. Small told jurors he assumed the insurance was fully legitimate.

He told the court that following his arrest, police had not returned some of his belongings and he was surprised to see officers taking electronic items such as computers and telephones and at the time had thought it was "systematic police harassment".

The court heard he decided not to comply with police because his home had been raided so many times before without arrest or charge.

He told jurors he did not know a parking ticket offence would come to the crown court - let alone the Old Bailey.

Small went on to chronicle the long history of the fraud trial as well as the trial in the summer which he did not give details about in court.

On December 4 last year, police carried out more searches and seized a file containing privileged legal documents about his defence in the fraud trial which was never returned, he said.

Small said: "I was arrested at about 4am and moments later taken to Southwark police station. My home was searched, my sister's home was searched, my son's mother's home was searched.

"My trial was about to start in 10 days. After being whisked away to Southwark police station, I spent 10 days there, I was then placed on remand in Belmarsh for eight months.

"After my trial in July I was acquitted of all charges and released from Belmarsh prison. During that period December to July, this trial was put on hold and after being found not guilty, the police decided to regurgitate this matter."

Small told jurors of various attempts to retrieve his bundle of legal documents from police but was instead handed five passport photographs and 15 pieces of paper relating to the other trial.

Jurors were not told that the summer trial was about serious terrorism offences until after they had returned their guilty verdicts today.

Judge Gerald Gordon adjourned sentencing until January 8 to allow a report to be compiled. He remanded father-of-one Small on conditional bail until then.

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