"You have damaged the credibility of police officers "
Met Police officer Hitesh Lakhani, aged 42, of Southall, West London, has been jailed for three years after he falsely accused a council street cleaner of sexually assaulting a child following a row over his hedge trimmings.
Kingston Crown Court heard Lakhani called the 101 police line to make the bogus claim.
He made the claim on September 5, 2018, while off-duty and doing some gardening.
He claimed to have seen a man luring a girl away from her mother and into bushes. he alleged that he saw the man pulling his shorts down and forcing the girl to touch him.
Lakhani suggested the sexual assault had been interrupted by calls from the girl’s mother. However, he confronted the man and took his picture.
In order to back up his allegations, Lakhani released a picture of the man, which circulated online. He also gave a statement to officers.
However, it was revealed the officer made up the child sex assault allegation as CCTV from a neighbouring home proved that a sexual assault could not have taken place.
The street cleaner was subsequently cleared.
Lakhani maintained the fake story for weeks but was found guilty of perverting the course of justice following a trial.
On January 10, 2020, Judge Jonathan Davies said the officer’s story had put the street cleaner at risk of being jailed. He said:
“This was wicked, prolonged and cruel conduct.
“Had Mr Lakhani’s evidence not been covered by CCTV this man would have been arrested and remanded in custody.
“He never did back down and this calls in to question other cases where he has given evidence.”
Jailing Lakhani for three years, Judge Davies told him:
“You were a police officer who would normally be calm and professional.
“This wasn’t spontaneous, you planned this. You have damaged the credibility of police officers generally and cases you have been a part of may need to be re-examined.”
Following the sentencing, David Davies, of the CPS, said:
“This was a baseless accusation against a hard-working man by a serving police officer.”
“Hitesh Lakhani called 101 alleging he had witnessed a sexual assault that he knew did not happen.
“This was a spiteful act over a disagreement about hedge trimmings in his front garden spilling on to the street.
“A police investigation found no trace of sexual crimes being reported in the vicinity, various inaccuracies in Lakhani’s account and CCTV evidence from a neighbouring house, which proved the sexual assault could not have happened.
“The most worrying aspect of this case was that Lakhani, as a police officer, presented as a credible witness to a serious allegation where there was an identified suspect.
“The implications for this victim could have been profound, but we were able to prove Lakhani’s account was entirely fictional and unfounded.
“I hope this prosecution serves as a reminder that nobody is above the law.”
The Evening Standard reported that Hitesh Lakhani now faces a misconduct hearing, which could result in the end of his police career.