A so-called ‘pick-up artist’ serving time for posting secret footage of himself pestering women has had his convictions quashed.
Adnan Ahmed – who calls himself Addy A-Game – was given a two-year sentence following a trial at Glasgow Sheriff Court last year.
The 39-year-old had secretly filmed himself approaching dozens of women in Scotland and Eastern Europe.
He posted the footage onto his YouTube channel and also included audio recorded during sex.
Sheriff Lindsay Wood also put Ahmed, of Maryhill, Glasgow, on the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.
However, lawyers acting for Ahmed believed he fell victim to a miscarriage of justice.
They told the Court of Criminal Appeal earlier this year that Sheriff Wood conducted an inappropriate cross-examination of Ahmed when he finished giving evidence.
Defence advocate Claire Mitchell QC said the questions asked by Sheriff Wood “would have led the independent observer to reach the view that the sheriff had formed an adverse view of his credibility”.
She said Sheriff Wood’s conduct result in her client being denied a fair and impartial trial.
In a written judgement issued at the court on Friday, appeal judges agreed.
Ahmed approached dozens of women in Glasgow and Lanarkshire between May 2016 and November 2018.
He described himself as being a “lifestyle coach”.
A BBC investigation into Ahmed’s activities revealed he was part of a global network of “pick-up artists” who practice what they call “game”.
YouTube has since removed hundreds of videos and deactivated two channels run by Addy A-Game and another group called Street Attraction.
Ahmed could be seen approaching women in the street. He then posted clips online offering advice to other men.
In the videos – which he claimed were “educational”- he offered tips on how to overcome “last-minute resistance” to sex. One clip included audio of a woman apparently recorded during sex.
Five young women, aged between 16 and 21, gave evidence at his trial about how they had been intimidated by Ahmed in Glasgow city centre and in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire.
The trial heard how Ahmed approached two schoolgirls in a secluded lane in Uddingston, South Lanarkshire, in 2016, when they were aged 16 and 17.
He called one of them “pretty”, tried to get her phone number and made her feel “uncomfortable” but she walked away.
Another woman broke down in court as she described how Ahmed followed her through Glasgow city centre and grabbed her head as he tried to kiss her.
Sheriff Lindsay Wood said Ahmed had shown a lack of remorse.
Ahmed’s legal team told the appeal court that Sheriff Wood failed to properly explain the rules of corroboration to jurors in the case.
‘It does not seem to us that a polite conversational request or complement can be construed as threatening merely because it is uninvited or unwelcome.’Lord Turnbull
Ms Mitchell also told the court that the sheriff was wrong to reject a defence motion to have some of the charges thrown out on the basis that there wasn’t enough evidence to allow jurors to return guilty verdicts.
In his report to the appeal court, Sheriff Wood said he believed there was enough evidence on these charges to be considered by the jurors.
However, the appeal court disagreed and said the evidence didn’t show that Ahmed was guilty of threatening behaviour.
Lord Turnbull – who delivered the judgement – wrote: “It does not seem to us that a polite conversational request or complement can be construed as threatening merely because it is uninvited or unwelcome.
“There was nothing in the appellant’s behaviour as spoken to by the complainers in charges 5, 6 and 18 which was overtly threatening or which could reasonably be construed as threatening.
“There was nothing in the appellant’s conduct in the city centre encounter as spoken to by the complainer in charge 16 which constituted threatening behaviour. He told her that she looked like Kim Kardashian, which the witness described as a compliment, although she asked him if he was joking.
“He subsequently sent her a text which was abusive. This was the only aspect of this charge which could have constituted an offence.
“In these circumstances we are satisfied that the doctrine of mutual corroboration would not have been available as between charge 4 and this aspect of charge 16.
“Accordingly, we are also persuaded that the sheriff erred in failing to give effect to the no case to answer submissions presented on the appellant’s behalf in respect of these charges also.”
Lord Turnbull said: “In the present case counsel was correct to object to the sheriff’s questioning when she did.
“The exercise which the sheriff was engaged in had already lacked any element of clarification and at the point when she rose to her feet the sheriff appeared to be in the process of arguing with the appellant.
“It is unacceptable for a judicial office holder to address a responsible practitioner by telling her to sit down.
“Such behaviour carries the risk of demeaning the standing of the judiciary in the eyes of both the legal profession and of the public.”
Ahmed has now been officially acquitted.
Lord Turnbull added: “Since the appeal against conviction is upheld on both grounds 1 and 3 in respect of all remaining charges the appeal against sentence flies off.”